Alberta leaving federal climate plan over Trans Mountain decision

31 August, 2018, 18:16 | Author: Patty Aguilar
  • Canadian court blocks controversial oil pipeline project | TheHill

The court ruling will halt construction of the 1,150km project, spearheaded by Texas-based Kinder Morgan, until the energy regulator and government can show they have complied with the court's demands - a process that could take years.

The unanimous Federal Court of Appeal confirmed the Liberals and Conservatives have failed utterly and are both responsible for a decision termed a nullity and the project can not proceed due to a failure to look at marine issues and a failure to consult, said Rankin, a New Democrat.

After its inability to overcome a corporate confidence impasse, the federal government announced in May that it will purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline from Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion.

Shortly after the court's ruling was released, Kinder Morgan Canada shareholders voted 99 per cent in favour of the Trans Mountain pipeline sale to Ottawa.

Some provinces are fighting the federal climate plan in court; the provincial government of Saskatchewan says it will not submit its plan for the federal government to review, and earlier this summer it filed a constitutional reference to Saskatchewan's Court of Appeal to ask whether Ottawa has the right to impose various taxes on jurisdictions. That means ensuring the highest level over governance - including environmental protection.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said the decision is "devastating news for energy workers across Canada and for Canadian taxpayers".

"Water is life. Water is sacred", he said, adding the federal government "never ever ever got our consent" for the pipeline.

The judicial ruling is seen as a major victory for First Nations and environmentalist groups, as well as the BC NDP provincial government and the municipal governments of Burnaby and Vancouver, which have been charged by pipeline supporters as obstructionists.

The court combined into one case almost two dozen lawsuits filed by First Nations, environmental groups and the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby calling for the energy board's review to be overturned.

"We do know it has to be done in the right way which means we will analyze this decision, it's a 275-page decision, and we will respond promptly", said Finance Minister Bill Morneau.


"However, the flaws discussed above thwarted meaningful, two-way dialogue", the judgment said.

Some First Nations are celebrating the ruling.

Morneau did not rule out seeking leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, but suggested the government would comply with the Federal Court's requirements, saying it had given the government good direction on next steps. "The court has stepped in where Canada has failed to protect and respect our rights and our water".

"It's quite a slap to the government by the court on the grounds of reconciliation with First Nations", said Kathryn Harrison, a professor of political science at University of British Columbia.

Earlier Thursday, the Federal Court of Appeal overturned Ottawa's approval of the pipeline, 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 board's review concluded that the project wouldn't have significant environmental consequences.

The court also ruled that the federal review was also flawed in that it excluded the project's impact on marine shipping and did not assess the potential impact of increased tanker traffic on the southern resident killer whale population.

"As a result, the Governor in Council could not rely on the Board's report and recommendations when assessing the Project's environmental effects and the overall public interest". Premier John Horgan said Thursday the province will continue to pursue the reference case.

"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".

Mayor Ken Christian says the ruling will impact Kamloops in a couple of ways, from the memorandum of agreement the city and Kinder Morgan had signed.

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