First Nation wants court to stop pipeline review

First Nation asks court to stop National Energy Board's review of Trans Mountain

  • Oct. 27, 2015 6:00 a.m.

By The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER – A First Nation in North Vancouver has mounted a legal challenge that it says could send the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion “back to the drawing board” if successful.

Lawyers for the Tsleil-Waututh Nation are asking the Federal Court of Appeal to stop the National Energy Board’s review of the $5.4-billion project, which they say began without their client being consulted by the federal government.

“What we’ve asked the court to do is to recognize the flaws in the starting of the process, the process itself, the legal errors that the NEB has made and, really, to stop the process and send it back to the drawing board,” said Eugene Kung, staff counsel with West Coast Environmental Law.

The Trans Mountain pipeline currently ships 300,000 barrels a day of petroleum products from Alberta to the West Coast. Its owner, Kinder Morgan, aims to nearly triple its capacity, enabling oilsands crude to be shipped by tanker to Asia.

The Tsleil-Waututh are among various groups opposed to the project, citing environmental and public health risks and little benefit to the economy.

Rueben George, project manager with the Tsleil-Waututh’s Sacred Trust Initiative, said the outgoing Conservative government created a “catastrophic mess” with changes it made to environmental oversight and he’s optimistic things will change under the new Liberal majority government.

Many critics have slammed the regulatory review process for being skewed in favour of industry and for not taking into account the pipeline’s role in enabling more oilsands development — and the increased carbon emissions that would result.

The NEB postponed hearings in August after striking economic evidence prepared by a consultant who was to begin working for the regulator starting this month. Steven Kelly won’t be involved in the Trans Mountain assessment, but the NEB nonetheless said it wanted to ensure no questions were raised about the review’s integrity.

Kinder Morgan has said the project underwent “unprecedented” scrutiny inside and outside the formal review process and would add $18 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product over 20 years.

“Trans Mountain deeply respects aboriginal rights and title in Canada and we acknowledge the Crown’s responsibility to consult with representatives of the First Nations. For more than three years we have been engaging in meaningful consultation and to date Trans Mountain has consulted with approximately 133 Aboriginal and First Nations Groups,” the company said in a statement.

“Like the Tsleil-Waututh, Trans Mountain appreciates the need for a healthy Salish Sea, and we are committed to safe and environmentally responsible operations. As always Trans Mountain stands by our commitment to engage with First Nations and invites Tsleil-Waututh Nation to come to the table and engage in clear productive conversation.”

George said what’s needed is nation-to-nation consultation.

“Kinder Morgan’s a company. Who should consult with us is Canada. They have no business talking to us. It’s Canada that has to talk with us,” he said.

NEB spokeswoman Tara O’Donovan declined to comment on the specifics of the court case.

“Our decisions are subject to independent and impartial judicial oversight. That’s usually either through the Federal Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court of Canada. We are bound to act in accordance with the court’s decisions,” she said.

The Tsleil-Waututh was granted leave to appeal in July, so that’s already been factored into the review’s hearing schedule, said O’Donovan.

The panel will hear Trans Mountain’s oral summary arguments in Calgary on Dec. 17, with interveners having their turn in the new year.

— By Lauren Krugel in Calgary

Follow @LaurenKrugel on Twitter.

Just Posted

Maritime Museum project receives legacy grant

A special project of the Dixon Entrance Maritime Museum Society has been… Continue reading

Richardson Ranch celebrating 100 years of family and ranching in Haida Gwaii

Tlell Polled Hereford’s continue to win awards while the ranch becomes a popular spot for visitors

Indigenous voices finally heard with final MMIWG report, says Northwest B.C. advocate

The report contains more than 200 recommendations to multiple levels of government

Sustainble economy flourishing in Haida Gwaii and Great Bear Rainforest thanks to First Nations investments

From 2008-2018, funding initiatives led to more than $286 million in new investments

New exhibit at Haida Gwaii Heritage Centre, Kay Llnagaay

Ubiquitous Cocoons: My metamorphosing life by Kathy Pick will be running until Sept. 1, 2019

First ever Nisga’a mortuary totem pole unveiled in Prince Rupert cemetery on Father’s Day weekend

The pole was unveiled at Fairview Cemetery in honour of the late Robert Tait, renowned carver

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

Police probe report of shooting as Raptors rally continues

There were reports of a woman being injured at the event that celebrates the team’s NBA title win

Oil and gas sector cautious as deadline on Trans Mountain decision nears

Trudeau government expected to announce whether it will approve pipeline for second time on Tuesday

Skipping school costs a dozen B.C. students chance at a new car

Cowichan’s Jared Lammi showed up and won $5,000 cheque toward vehicle, but he can’t drive

People throwing food at a bear in Fernie alarms conservation groups

“Approaching and feeding bears contributes to habituation,” says conservation group

Feds announce $50M strategy to fight dementia

Emphasis is on prevention and and supporting caregivers

Federal Liberals’ plan to help first-time homebuyers to kick in weeks before election

Ottawa to pick up 5% of a mortgage on existing homes for households that earn under $120,000 a year

First ever Nisga’a mortuary totem pole unveiled in Prince Rupert cemetery on Father’s Day weekend

The pole was unveiled at Fairview Cemetery in honour of the late Robert Tait, renowned carver

Most Read