Trans Mountain ruling increases uncertainty among resource industry groups

02 September, 2018, 09:29 | Author: Corey Lynch
  • Canadian court blocks controversial oil pipeline project | TheHill

On Ottawa's watch, work was halted on other major pipelines, such as Northern Gateway and Energy East. Trans Mountain was left as the one major conduit that could potentially carry Alberta oil to world markets, rather than the US refineries that are the destinations for every other Canadian pipeline.

In its written decision by Justice Eleanor Dawson quashing the approval, the appeals court challenged the National Energy Board's (NEB) review "on two principal grounds".

But many indigenous people see the 620 miles of new pipeline as a threat to their lands, echoing concerns raised by Native Americans about the Keystone XL project in the U.S. Many in Canada say it also raises broader environmental concerns by enabling increased development of the carbon-heavy oil sands.

In order for infrastructure company Kinder Morgan to resume construction, the court said the energy regulator and the government must comply with its orders, which could take years.

Opposition groups argue the risks of oil spills in the Salish Sea - home to an already-endangered killer whales - and the potential hazards of increased petroleum tanker traffic are too high a price to pay for an economic boom.

"When a project like this is under review, it's the federal government's job to ensure there are clear goalposts".

Up to C$2 billion ($1.6 billion) in public money was committed by the Alberta government as an emergency fund to cover unpredictable expenses, while a Canadian Crown corporation also was being set up to own the pipeline and manage TMEP.

February 21, 2012: Kinder Morgan says it wants to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline after receiving support from oil shippers and will begin public consultations.

Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce CEO Robin Bobocel says the project has been delayed time and time again, and that this latest setback shows a failure to recognize the importance of the project to the national economy.




It also said the federal government failed in its duty to properly consult with First Nations before giving the project the go-ahead. The case is a combination of almost two dozen cases against the crude oil pipeline, according to the Globe and Mail.

Kinder Morgan shareholders voted overwhelmingly to approve the sale of the pipeline to the government not long after the court decision was announced. The federal government intervened in May as a last-ditch effort to revive it.

Back in 2013, shortly after he was first elected Liberal leader, Trudeau headed to the Calgary Petroleum Club, where he accused Stephen Harper's Conservative government of needlessly antagonizing environmentalists and First Nations with an unabashedly pro-energy industry stance that resulted in no new major pipelines being built.

"Today is a really sad day for Canada and our ability to move major projects in the Canadian national interest forward", said Laila Goodridge, UCP MLA for Fort McMurray-Conklin.

The Squamish Indian Band, Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Coldwater Indian Band, and Squiala First Nation are among the plaintiffs on the case the three-person court heard. "I think Kinder Morgan is just glad to be out of Canada on that project". "We're at this point where let's stop trying to find things to blame on people or organizations, let's fix the problem".

"If the Federal Court strikes down the permit authorizing the pipeline because of inadequate consultation, or for another reason, then I don't see how the pipeline project can proceed - unless or until the Supreme Court reversed that decision", he said. Other plaintiffs include the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby.

He added: "This summer's fires, floods and choking smoke make it impossible to ignore the rising costs of climate inaction, so the prime minister should welcome the opportunity created by today's ruling to get on the right side of history".

With as few as 75 southern resident orcas left, the population will be unsustainable if the project proceeds, said Paul Paquet, senior scientist with the Raincoast Conservation Foundation.

October 26, 2017: Kinder Morgan Canada asks NEB to allow work to begin despite a failure to obtain municipal permits from the City of Burnaby.

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