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.

Just Posted

Cooper captures world championship buckle

Jaret Cooper, 16, from VSS, wins novice saddle bronc event at Junior World Finals rodeo in Las Vegas

Armstrong thrift store donates plenty to health care

Bargain Bin, run by Armstrong Spallumcheen Healthcare Auxiliary, donates $40,000 to VJH Foundation

North Okanagan woodstove exchange program continues

Grant funding received allows Coldstream/Lumby program to carry on

Vernon fencer on point for Canadian military team

Landrey Bickel, former Vernon School District team member, competes at World Military Games

VIDEO: Kenney lays out key demands for meeting with Trudeau

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney aims for clear signs of federal action on two-day Ottawa trip

Province sues over sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after marine lift failed

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Two Okanagan residents convicted and fined for hunting out of season

Both residents were convicted in a Kelowna provincial court

Book examines history of B.C. wine industry

Author Luke Whittall has studied the growth of the industry from the mid-19th century to today

Chilliwack family’s therapy dog injured in hit and run

Miniature pit bull Fifty’s owner is a single mother facing close to $10,000 in vet bills

Competitive Christmas decorating takes sarcastic turn in Princeton

It’s not uncommon for neighbours to good-naturely compete with one another when… Continue reading

Most Read