The Federal Court of Appeal has agreed to allow six of 12 appeals opposing the re-approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
The Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish Nation, Ts’elxwéyeqw tribes, Coldwater Indian Band, and Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation have been approved to challenge the Trans Mountain expansion on grounds that the federal government failed to consult, accommodate and seek consent from them during the appeal process. The pipeline expansion would cross the traditional territories of all the Nations.
“As I’ve said before, the federal government has again failed to respond to the concerns we have been raising in regards to this project,” said Tsleil-Waututh Nation Chief Leah George-Wilson in a press release. “This feels like déja vu. We have no choice but to appeal again and we expect the same results – the approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline will be overturned.”
If successful, the legal challenges could again halt the controversial pipeline expansion, which would move diluted bitumen from near Edmonton to a marine shipping terminal in Burnaby, by nullifying its re-approval announced on June 18 by the federal government.
The oil lobby group the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said despite the “setback” they expect construction on the Trans Mountain expansion to begin in September, according to the CBC.
A half-dozen other appeals opposing the Trans Mountain expansion on environmental grounds were declined. These included appeals by a group of youth climate activists, the City of Vancouver and Raincoast Conservation Foundation and Living Oceans Society.
In a press release, the environmental law group Ecojustice, representing the Raincoast Conservation Foundation and Living Oceans Society in a challenge of Trans Mountain based on threats to the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale population, said they were disappointed and reviewing options, including appealing the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.
“Today’s news may have forced us to take a step back before determining our next move, but one thing is certain: Our commitment to using the law to defend nature, combat climate change, and fight for a healthy environment will never waver,” said Ecojustice executive director Devon Page.