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

Protesters in Parksville demand change to current B.C. forest practices

Approximately 50 people march along Island Highway

Qualicum Beach roundabout project would cost nearly $2M

Town to apply for funds to cover $1.79M of the total

Town of Qualicum Beach defers discussions with preservation society regarding wetlands

CAO says registered covenant will protect land in perpetuity

Qualicum Beach seek funds for $4.5M community field project

Turf surface would allow for new sporting activities

Parksville homeowner must clean up property or face penalties

If deadline not met, city crews will do the job and a bill will be sent out

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Woodgrove Centre posts plans to make masks and temperature checks mandatory

Nanaimo mall advises in letter to customers that rules will come into effect Monday, Sept. 21

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Nanaimo residents ticketed for putting garbage bins out early

Conservation officers say they issued seven tickets this week, as concerns about bears increase

Motor home burns up at north Nanaimo intersection

No one hurt in incident Friday morning at old Island Highway, Rutherford Road and Mostar Road

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Most Read