OTTAWA, ON- The Federal Court of Appeal has stopped the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project in its tracks.
In a written decision, the court indicated that the National Energy Board’s review of the expansion project was ‘so flawed’ that the Trudeau Government couldn’t rely on it as the basis for its approval of the project back in 2016.
This ruling to stop the project, estimated to be worth seven point four billion dollars, is seen as a huge win for both environmentalists and Indigenous groups.
BC Premier John Horgan says the National Energy Board process is flawed and the concerns that opponents of this project have are justified.
“Our coast is considered to be an integral part of the decision-making process and marine traffic was not adequately assessed by the National Energy Board or the ordering council to proceed,” said Horgan.
He adds, “today is a great day for those in British Columbia who have been saying for many years that the NEB process was flawed and that the consequences of a spill were significant, have been vindicated.”
Executive Director of the Georgia Strait Alliance Christianne Wilhelmson says the Trudeau Liberals have been shamed.
“The government was really shamed today, the project is the wrong project, the process was flawed, this is a government that talks about reconciliation, but clearly doesn’t know what it means,” says Wilhelmson. “The court did its job today, they quashed this project, and this project has got to die.”
Indigenous groups, environmental groups, and the provincial government stood united against this expansion project and Horgan says the National Energy Board disregarded how coastal BC would be effected by this multi-billion dollar expansion.
“Our coast was not considered by the National Energy Board and I feel that those citizens have been vindicated today,” said Horgan. “During the election campaign, I said that my government would do what it could to protect those things that are important to British Columbians and I believe that this case takes us in that direction.”
Wilhelmson says this ruling eliminates one risk facing the iconic, yet endangered, resident killer whales.
“Four or five hundred tanker crossings a year will not happen, the risk of a diluted bitumen spill will not increase, it’s significant to the orcas, it does not solve all the other problems,” says Wilhelmson.
The federal government bought the existing Trans Mountain pipeline for four and a half billion dollars and now has to rework part of its consultations with First Nations groups.