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BC government joins legal challenges against Trans Mountain oil pipeline

12 August 2017
BC government joins legal challenges against Trans Mountain oil pipeline

The provincial government has announced it has hired outside counsel to begin its legal challenge of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

"We know with the federal government's approval of this project that the path forward will be challenging", Heyman said, "but we're committed to stepping up and fighting for B.C.'s interests. We will use all available tools to protect our coastal waters and our province's future", the environment minister says.

"Until these consultations are completed in a way that that meets these legal obligations, work on this project on public land can not proceed", he said.

"Because at the end of the day, no matter what actions they take, they need to be first and foremost grounded in meritorious legal actions".

Protesters hold a rally at City Hall before a march against the proposed expansion of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Pipeline in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada November 19, 2016.

"Mr. Berger will provide legal advice to government on the options for participation in legal challenges, and those hearings are scheduled to begin in federal court later this fall", said BC Attorney General David Eby.

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

CKNW has reached out to Kinder Morgan for comment.

Werner Antweiler, associate professor at the University of BC's Sauder School of Business, doesn't think the B.C. government has a very strong case because, ultimately, interprovincial pipelines are a federal jurisdiction.

"We also have abilities with respect to permits on stream crossings and other issues that require provincial responsibility, and we're going to exercise those", Horgan said.

Multiple First Nations and municipalities filed legal challenges against the project, which would triple the capacity for transport of diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands fields and greatly expand the Kinder Morgan marine oil shipping terminal at Burnaby, just outside Vancouver.

Meanwhile, B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver has highlighted the government's actions in a fundraising email sent out this afternoon. "We have undertaken thorough, extensive and meaningful consultations with Aboriginal peoples, communities and individuals and remain dedicated to those efforts and relationships as we move forward with consultation activities in September".

Greenpeace, the Wilderness Committee and the West Coast Environmental Law Association issued statements Thursday welcoming the NDP government's move to use legal means to review the pipeline project.

The government also plans to review the ways in which resource projects are approved. All three organizations noted how Kinder Morgan has yet to obtain the necessary permits to proceed with construction.