BC retains counsel to fight Trans Mountain pipeline project

Ashley Carr
August 12, 2017

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says despite the latest attempt by the British Columbia government to fight construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline project, "the decision has been taken".

"Our government made it clear that a seven-fold increase in heavy oil tankers in the Vancouver harbour is not in B.C.'s best interests". Until those talks are completed and the province's legal obligations are satisfied, British Columbia said it would prohibit construction of the expansion on government-owned land.

The move is an attempt by the newly elected government to make good on its campaign promise to use "every tool available" to stop the 987-kilometre pipeline from being built, despite the National Energy Board and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government having given it the green light.

He says Kinder Morgan may have some private land holdings set aside for the project.

"Mr. Berger will provide legal advice to government on the options for participation in legal challenges, and those hearings are scheduled to begin in federal court later this fall", said BC Attorney General David Eby.

In a federal court application for a judicial review of the NEB's approval of the pipeline expansion, the province will seek intervener status.

NDP government won't permit Kinder Morgan to put shovels in ground on public land for pipeline
Reaction to the Trans Mountain move by the BC NDP

In a release, Interim Leader Rich Coleman says "Today's announcement by the NDP continues to drive the message home to investors that our province is not open for business or investment of any kind and is willing to forfeit an nearly $20 billion increase to our GDP".

Eby said Berger's appointment should send a strong message about B.C.'s commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations.

"The duty to consult aboriginal groups is based on a specific test established by the Supreme Court of Canada in Haida Nation v. BC (Minister of Forests)", Junger said in an email to Business in Vancouver.

In a press release, Kinder Morgan said it was taking seriously the comments from Eby and Heyman and will review them. "We have undertaken thorough, extensive and meaningful consultations with Aboriginal peoples, communities and individuals and remain dedicated to those efforts and relationships as we move forward with consultation activities in September". "British Columbians should be rightly concerned that their government is spending tax dollars to stop a project that will not only boost our local economies but also benefit the rest of our country". All three organizations noted how Kinder Morgan has yet to obtain the necessary permits to proceed with construction.

Thomas Berger has been hired as an external lawyer for matters relating to the pipeline, which was green-lighted by the previous BC Liberal government in January and federal government last November.

WPAFB Thursday Weather: Scattered storms, highs in low 80s
Temperatures overnight will be in the lower 70s with an easterly wind around 5 miles per hour becoming calm by the morning. Highs will only reach the mid to upper 70s and by the evening storm coverage will decrease.

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