Monday, 23 October, 2017

Government hires outside counsel to begin Trans Mountain pipeline legal challenge

NDP government won't permit Kinder Morgan to put shovels in ground on public land for pipeline BC government seeks intervener status on Trans Mountain expansion
Jo Caldwell | 12 August, 2017, 00:22

The government of British Columbia, Canada's westernmost province, vowed Thursday to use every legal option to stop construction of Kinder Morgan Inc.'s planned expansion of a pipeline connecting the Alberta oil sands with the Pacific Coast.

"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", Heyman told reporters in Vancouver.

The Province plans to file for intervenor status in legal challenges against the federal government's approval of the project.

The company must complete consultations with First Nations on several environmental aspects of the project not yet addressed, and may not begin work on public land until it does so, Heyman said.

Kinder Morgan said last month that it was on track to begin construction on the pipeline expansion in September.

Under Berger's guidance, the province will also apply to have intervenor status in another legal challenge to the National Energy Board's approval now winding through the federal court.

Kinder Morgan Canada remains committed to working with the province and meeting its NEB and environmental certificate conditions, he said.

"We know with the federal government's approval of this project, the path forward will be challenging, but we are committed to stepping up and fighting for B.C's interests", he said.

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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".

Rich Coleman, interim leader of the BC Liberal Party, however, said the province stands to lose almost $20 billion in GDP should the NDP kill a project that has already met B.C.'s conditions.

As well, the Squamish First Nation has a court challenge related to inadequate consultation by Kinder Morgan on its project, which proposes to nearly triple the number of barrels of oil shipped per day from Edmonton to the shores of Burrard Inlet, increasing from 300,000 to 890,000. "Growing a strong economy for the future requires taking leadership on the environment and we have done exactly that".

"Some of the tools that were available to BC previously were given away by the previous government when they agreed to accept the National Energy Board review as its own review".

Eby explained there are two court actions underway with regards to the Kinder Morgan pipeline proposal.

"We have undertaken thorough, extensive and meaningful consultations with Aboriginal Peoples, communities and individuals and remain dedicated to those efforts and relationships".

The government also plans to review the ways in which resource projects are approved.

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