Indigenous Activists Just Scored A Massive Victory In Canadian Pipeline Battle

Canadian court blocks controversial oil pipeline project | TheHill

"The court did its job today, they quashed this project, and this project has got to die".

Citing inadequate consultations with Indigenous peoples, Justice Eleanor Dawson nullified licensing for the $7.4 billion project Thursday, halting construction only days after shovels hit the ground on the 1,150-km project.

Trudeau had a teleconference with each province's Premier Thursday.

So as to the bottom line, according to CBC Canada, the pipeline project has been left in limbo until the energy regulator and the government reassesses their approvals and they meet with the approval of the court.

The future of the Trans Mountain pipeline extension is an uncertain one now that a federal court halted the plan's approval in a Thursday morning ruling.

Chris Bloomer, CEO of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, said the federal government needs to fix its ailing regulatory system.

January 12, 2016: Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says in a written submission to the NEB that the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is in the best interests of both Alberta and Canada.

Alberta was also an intervener and the province's lawyer told the court Ottawa's decision to approve the pipeline expansion was based on broad evidence that considered environmental, economic and Indigenous interests.

"We would like to see this project start construction as soon as possible, see it through to fruition so that we can access other markets with our western Canadian oil and provide the opportunity to narrow that price differential that Saskatchewan is experiencing at the moment", he said.

In a unanimous decision by a panel of three judges, the court says the National Energy Board's review of the project was so flawed that the federal government could not rely on it as a basis for its decision to approve the expansion.

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In its initial study of the project, the NEB found that the pipeline would not cause significant adverse environmental impacts. The Westridge Marine Terminal is built and commissioned in Burnaby, B.C.

But it has continued to face stiff opposition from environmentalist activists - who once supported Trudeau's rise to power - and indigenous tribes concerned that increased shipping from a marine terminal at the end of the route in Vancouver will impede the recovery of killer whale populations in the area. First Nations have been protesting the pipeline expansion project, which would triple the amount of tar sands oil flowing from Alberta to British Columbia, for months.

Most of the additional capacity would be destined for points overseas. The vote had been previously scheduled.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Thursday the federal government is carefully reviewing the decision but is determined to proceed with the project, that, he said, is in the best national interest and "critically important" for the economy. "So we will be considering our next steps in light of that".

January 27, 2016: The federal Liberal government says pipeline projects such as the Trans Mountain expansion will now be assessed in part on the greenhouse gas emissions produced in the extraction and processing of the oil they carry.

Trudeau has faced mounting criticism for forging ahead with the purchase in order to guarantee the pipeline's completion. "We are reviewing the decision with the government of Canada and are taking the appropriate time to assess next steps", said Trans Mountain. The court did not specify a timeline.

"What seems to me is happening in this case is the court is drifting a little more towards saying, 'We're really going to take a hard look at how you engage in that consultation and sometimes we're going to be so demanding that it's pretty much equivalent to a consent type of rule'".

April 8, 2018: Kinder Morgan Canada suspends non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain expansion project and sets a May 31 deadline to reach agreements with stakeholders.

The environmental groups involved in the case also cheered the ruling, with Ecojustice, the Living Oceans Society and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation calling it a "critical win" for the climate and coastal ecosystems.

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