Pipes are seen at the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain facility in Edmonton, Thursday, April 6, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Groups preparing new pipeline legal challenge, argue government’s mind made up

A Vancouver-based environment charity is readying itself to go back to court if the federal government reapproves the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

A Vancouver-based environment charity is readying itself to go back to court if — or they believe when — the federal government re-approves the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion next year.

The Wilderness Committee returned $25,000 in participant funding to the National Energy Board last month citing the short timeline for the board’s new review on the marine impacts of the proposed expansion.

Peter McCartney, climate campaigner for the committee, says the timelines are so short it underscores his belief the government is doing this just to fulfil the Federal Court of Appeal’s concerns with the original review, rather than to seriously reconsider the approval given to the project.

“They’re going through the motions but they’ve already made up their mind,” he said. “I don’t know what confidence they’re trying to inspire in people to trust this review.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said many times the pipeline is going to be built. His government stepped in to buy it and build the expansion itself when political opposition left Kinder Morgan and its shareholders unwilling to continue. In an interview last week Trudeau said any decision to move forward again will be made as the review process is completed.

“What’s at issue here is not just this pipeline,” he said. “It’s our capacity as a country to get our resources to market.”

However, McCartney said the government’s actions suggest the Liberals are going to approve it again no matter what and he warned they should expect another lawsuit as a result.

“Absolutely there will be,” he said. “People are already talking about that.”

Read more: New Trans Mountain pipeline review doomed to fail: Vancouver mayor-elect

Read more: Energy assessment law needed to avoid another Trans Mountain impasse, PM says

The federal cabinet approved Trans Mountain in the fall of 2016. That approval was challenged by several environment groups and Indigenous communities who argued the original review didn’t properly consider impacts on marine life from the extra oil tankers required to carry more oil away from the marine terminal where the pipeline ends.

Indigenous communities also felt their concerns had not been addressed as is required by the constitutional duty to consult them.

The Federal Court of Appeal agreed and in August tore up the cabinet’s approval for the project, halting construction in its tracks.

In response, the federal Liberals ordered a new round of Indigenous consultations and also asked the NEB to go back and do a more thorough look at marine impacts. There is no specific timeline for the Indigenous consultations but the government gave the NEB only until Feb. 22 to complete its work.

The NEB’s original review did conclude that there would be negative impacts on marine life, including killer whales. But the board said marine impacts were outside its jurisdiction and, therefore, had no impact on its decision to approve the project.

McCartney said the Feb. 22 deadline is just way too short for a thorough review. Accordingly, his organization withdrew from the review and returned the funding given to help it gather research to make its case.

Conservative natural resources critic Shannon Stubbs said the fact that environment groups are already planning another lawsuit is proof of the energy industry’s contention that environmentalists don’t want proper consideration given to the project, but rather want to delay it enough to eventually kill it.

“They will just do everything to stop it.”

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ballenas Whalers football players honoured after stellar high school season

Chomolok, Rykers earn most valuable player accolades

‘Elizabeth Little Waterfront Park’ proposed in Qualicum Beach

It was first announced in 2018 that St. Andrews Lodge would be turned into a public space

RDN budget talks to include public consultation results

Director not impress with level of engagement

Three celebrations this summer in Parksville for city’s big 75th birthday bash

Beach party and street festival to be added to city’s roster of activities

WATCH: Find a perfect venue at Hitched Wedding & Events Affair

Check out vendors, venues and more at the Comox Community Centre today until 4 p.m.

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

Most Read