Pipeline limbo: Court halts Trans Mountain construction

Court quashes Trudeau’s approval of Trans Mountain pipeline By Mike De Souza in News Energy |
August 30th 2018

November 29, 2016: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sanctions the Trans Mountain expansion, part of a sweeping announcement that also saw approval of Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline replacement but the end of its Northern Gateway project.

Notley has said Alberta's commitment to environmental stewardship, expressed through its carbon tax and commitment to phase out coal-fired electricity along with other green initiatives, allowed Trudeau's government to follow through on its commitment to get the pipeline built.

The decision "quashed" the government's 2016 approval of the pipeline, which was based upon on those flawed consultations, the court ruled.

The government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been heavily criticised since coming to power over contradictory stances on the environment and Indigenous rights as critics say he had promised to institutionalize protections for both, while in turn pushing forward with highly unpopular fossil duel projects and oil pipelines.

Notley's visible frustration comes after the Federal Court of Appeal overturned Ottawa's approval of the pipeline Thursday, which would have doubled the line from Edmonton to the B.C. coast and tripled the amount of oil shipped to fetch a better price on overseas markets.

The company's shareholders voted on Thursday morning to approve the $3.5 billion ($4.5 billion in Canadian currency) sale to the Canadian government in the spring.

Notley didn't level total blame on the federal government.

2006 - 2008: The Anchor Loop project adds 160 kilometres of new pipeline through Jasper National Park and Mount Robson Provincial Park between Hinton, Alta., and Hargreaves, B.C. The extension includes 13 new pump stations and modifications to existing stations, increasing capacity from 260,000 bpd to 300,000 bpd.

Lee Spahan, chief of the Coldwater First Nation in the Nicola Valley - which he said is known as the people of the creek - said the ruling helps save water.

First Nations (those who oppose the project), environmentalists, coastal civic leaders and others are celebrating - and deservedly so, given their efforts. The court ruled that although the issues were valid, state officials failed to resolve them.

Six applications challenged the NEB decision. The court concluded the federal government failed in its duty to engage in meaningful consultations with First Nations before approving it.

A few hours after the ruling, Notley announced Alberta will withdraw its support for the carbon pricing scheme.

In the upside-down-world of government messaging, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the court justified the government's purchase of the pipeline expansion project in the first place, because only the government has the wherewithal to "de-risk" the project.

"The unjustified exclusion of marine shipping from the scope of the project led to successive, unacceptable deficiencies in the [NEB's] report and recommendations".

He said the government remained "absolutely committed" to building the project.

The event was organized at Vancouver's Crab Park, which overlooks Burrard Inlet, home of Kinder Morgan's Westridge Marine Terminal. They were supported by the province of British Columbia, which was an intervener, as was Alberta.

The ruling also found that the country's energy regulator, the National Energy Board, did not properly consider the impact of increased tanker traffic due to the project.

For several years, they have been leading a growing protest movement against the pipeline, which they say threatens the water and land their communities depend on.

"I think what I am most satisfied with is that when we formed a government, we looked at what were the practical things we could do within the context of the Canadian family to make our arguments and I think that we've done that effectively". "Now it's time for Prime Minister Trudeau to read the writing on the wall, dump this pipeline and shift the billions of public dollars slated for this problem-plagued project into Canada's renewable energy economy", Mike Hudema of the organisation said in a statement.

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