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article imageFederal Court of Appeal sides with opponents of Trans Mountain

By Karen Graham     Aug 30, 2018 in Politics
The Federal Court of Appeal has sided with pipeline opponents over the Trans Mountain pipeline today, resulting in Kinder Morgan issuing a statement saying it is currently taking measures to suspend “construction-related” activities.
Opponents of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project were cheering their victory after the Federal Court of Appeal's decision Thursday morning that basically quashed the approval of the pipeline expansion.
The ruling is a major victory for Indigenous groups and environmentalists opposed to the $7.4-billion project, with the court saying that Ottawa failed to adequately consider aboriginal concerns, in a blow to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s efforts to balance environmental and economic issues.
In the decision written by Justice Eleanor Dawson, the court found the "National Energy Board's assessment of the project was so flawed that it should not have been relied on by the federal cabinet when it gave final approval to proceed in November 2016."
Of particular interest was the finding that there was a failure to adequately assess the project-related shipping under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act of 2012. This can be found on page 251, item no. 766 of the 266-page long decision.
So as to the bottom line, according to CBC Canada, the pipeline project has been left in limbo until the energy regulator and the government reassesses their approvals and they meet with the approval of the court.
Kinder Morgan also had a busy morning
Strangely enough, the Federal Court of Appeal decision on the pipeline was released the same morning that Kinder Morgan’s shareholders voted overwhelmingly in Houston to sell the pipeline to Canada for $4.5 billion, reports the Toronto Star.
Regulatory lawyer Bill Gallagher, the author of "Resource Rulers" and the upcoming book "Resource Reckoning," said today's ruling was a “benchmark” in the rise of what he called “Native empowerment” over natural resources in Canada.
As for Kinder Morgan's being given shareholder approval to sell the pipeline to Canada, “Kinder Morgan will be happy to have unloaded it,” Gallagher said in a phone interview. “I think Kinder Morgan is just glad to be out of Canada on that project."
And in another interesting turn of events, the Global News came out with a "breaking story" just a short while ago that Kinder Morgan announced in a statement it is currently taking measures to suspend “construction-related” activities on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
“We are reviewing the decision with the government of Canada and are taking the appropriate time to assess next steps,” said Trans Mountain. “We remain committed to building this project in consideration of communities and the environment, with meaningful consultation with Indigenous peoples and for the benefit of Canadians.”
However, this is still a victory for First Nations people and the environment. Rueben George from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation said: “Today the court heard the teachings of our culture. This is a victory for all of us.”
At this time, the Liberal government has not reached a conclusion on the exact response to Trans Mountain ruling.
More about Canada, trans mountain pipeline, federal court of appeal, environmental effects, pipeline in limbo
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