BLANK SPACER

VIDEO: Federal appeals court approves six First Nations challenges of Trans Mountain pipeline

Environmental challenges were dismissed, disappointing those groups

The Federal Court of Appeals has ruled that six of 12 legal challenges to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion can go ahead.

Wednesday’s ruling will allow groups to appeal the second phase of the expansion, which the federal government approved for the second time in June.

Concerns raised about the pipeline include inadequate environmental protections and some First Nations’ beliefs that Ottawa had predetermined the outcome before entering into discussion.

The federal government bought the Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 billion in 2018.

The appeals court said the challenges would proceed on a “highly expedited schedule.”

The First Nations that were granted leave to appeal are the Upper Nicola Band; the Tsleil-Waututh Nation; the Squamish Nation; the Coldwater Indian Band; Chief Ron Ignace and Chief Rosanne Casimir, on their own behalf and on behalf of all other members of the Stk’emlupsemc Te Secwepemc of the Secwepemc Nation; and Aitchelitz, Skowkale, Shxwhá:y Village, Soowahlie, Squiala First Nation, Tzeachten, Yakweakwioose.

The court said the approved challenges are limited to the “narrow issue of the adequacy of the Government of Canada’s further consultation with Indigenous peoples and First Nations between August 30, 2018 and June 18, 2019 and related issues.”

READ MORE: Canada’s bias meant improper consultations: First Nations challenging pipeline

The court said the decision to allow challenges based on First Nations consultations to proceed was made even after giving Ottawa “leeway” in its talks with the nations, as well as giving a high level of defence to the government’s right to approve the pipeline.

“Compliance with the duty to consult is not measured by a standard of perfection,” wrote Justice David Stratas in his reasons.

The appeals court first struck down Ottawa’s approval of the pipeline expansion in August, citing the National Energy Board’s failure to consider marine impacts and inadequate First Nations consultation.

The board re-approved the pipeline earlier this year, and the Trudeau government made the decision to proceed with the project on June 18.

In appeals that followed, First Nations said Canada again did not meaningfully consult with them.

Stratas wrote that the First Nations considered the further consultations rushed and as “window-dressing, box-ticking and nice-sounding words, not the hard work of taking on board their concerns, exploring possible solutions, and collaborating to get to a better place.”

He said the environmental challenges were denied because they were either the same as ones made in last August’s appeal, or ones that could and should have been made at that time. The court does not rehear old arguments.

Environmental concerns about the impact of increased marine traffic were dismissed because the National Energy Board’s “comprehensive, detail-laden, 678-page report” was found to have satisfied that requirement.

Environmental groups said they were disappointed with the decision.

“We remain committed to protecting the southern resident killer whales, fighting climate change, and holding Cabinet to account, and we will review our legal option in the coming weeks,” a statement from Ecojustice, Raincoast Conservation Foundation and Living Oceans Society said. “Given the urgency of this situation, we will not rule out taking our fight to the Supreme Court of Canada.”

The six parties granted leave to appeal must file notices of application for judicial review within seven days.

READ MORE: Environmental groups challenge Trans Mountain, citing killer whale concerns

READ MORE: Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Avalanche take on Mariners in weekend PACWEST action

The College of the Rockies Avalanche took on the visiting Vancouver Island… Continue reading

Council to consider postponing public hearing for Innes Ave development

Cranbrook city council is eyeing a move to postpone a public hearing… Continue reading

Cranbrook Knights of Columbus donate funds to seven local organizations

City Councillor Wayne Price (centre) presents a $400 cheque to Brian Clifford… Continue reading

CBT grant helps local disc golf club improve youth access to sport

The Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) has announced it will be distributing a… Continue reading

Battle of youth vs experience at 2020 BC Championships in Cranbrook

Rebecca Connop Price The 2020 BC Championships in Cranbrook next week could… Continue reading

VIDEO: Music stars pay tribute to Kobe Bryant at Grammys award show

Music artists including Billy Ray Cyrus, Rick Ross and Kirk Franklin paid tribute to Bryant

Pregnant B.C. woman stuck in Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak

Woman is due to give birth in Wuhan, China unless she can get out

Victoria-area wolf tranquilized after being seen running around neighbourhood

Officials say wolf unharmed during its ‘arrest’

Ontario confirms second presumptive coronavirus case in wife of first patient

Both arrived on a China Southern Airlines flight after having been to Wuhan

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

What’s On At The Cranbrook Public Library

Mike Selby Novelist and travel writer Paul Theroux describes his journey as… Continue reading

Most Read