October 24, 2018 Read More →

Opponents blast new Trans Mountain review, warn of more legal fights

Calgary Herald:

The National Energy Board is repeating its mistakes with a new review of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, laying the groundwork for another court challenge, say First Nations, environmental advocates and politicians in British Columbia.

The new review of the project’s impacts on the marine environment is too rushed and limited and the federal government must urgently step in to expand the scope, said Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs Grand Chief Stewart Phillip. “I find it absolutely amazing that the prime minister is without conscience, without any sense of responsibility to the citizens of this country and future generations,” he said at a news conference Tuesday.

The Federal Court of Appeal quashed the government’s approval of the project in August, citing the energy board’s failure to examine impacts on the ocean ecosystem, including B.C.’s endangered southern resident killer whales. It also found Canada failed to meaningfully consult with First Nations during the final phase of discussions.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, which purchased the pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion, ordered the energy board to review the project’s marine shipping effects within 155 days and issue a report no later than Feb. 22.

The board limited the review’s geographic scope to 12 nautical miles off the B.C. coast. But whales inhabit waters well beyond that area, so the scope should be 200 nautical miles, said Eugene Kung, a lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law. “They’re continuing to ignore key issues like climate, like project economics and instead importing wholesale the stale evidence from the last time around,” he said.

The court ruling in August followed a lengthy legal battle waged by First Nations, environmental groups and Metro Vancouver cities. On Tuesday, several of the same parties said the new process appeared headed toward another court challenge.

More: First Nations, environment groups say latest energy board pipeline review flawed

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