Tsleil-Waututh gets go-ahead for pipeline challenge

Kinder Morgan

Anne Watson/North Shore News
July 28, 2014 03:19 PM

The fight against Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion took a twist late last week, costing the project some potential delays.

The Tsleil-Waututh Nation were granted permission by the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal on July 10 to pursue its legal challenge against the National Energy Board's review of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion.

Reuben George, spokesman for the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, said the court's decision was a good one.

"I sort of felt and knew that they were going to grant it but it brings to light the story of what we're doing and why we're doing it," said George. "It’s not just for us; it’s for everybody."

The Tsleil-Waututh filed the legal challenge on May 2, alleging the federal government's refusal to consult the band and therefore the NEB's review of the pipeline unlawful. The pipeline expansion would see an increase from 300,000 barrels of bitumen a day to 890,000 barrels, as well as an increase of tanker traffic in Burrard Inlet from five to 34 tankers a month.

"It's not looking out for the best interests of our environment, it's not looking out for the best interest of the people, it's not looking out for the best interests of the water, it's a flawed process," said George.

Scott Stoness, vice president regulatory at Kinder Morgan Canada, said the appeal to challenge the review process was not unexpected and is a normal event for such an appeal.

"We value our relationships with aboriginal groups in whose territories we operate and we understand that the Tsleil-Waututh Nation's current position is to not support our proposed project," said Stoness via email. "We will continue to seek opportunities to consult with Tsleil-Waututh through open, transparent dialogue to discuss concerns of the project, although to date they have not agreed to engage."

Just days after the Federal Court of Appeal's decision, the NEB decided to extend Kinder Morgan's hearing by seven months due to the company's latest plan to drill through Burnaby Mountain.

Eugene Kung, staff lawyer at West Coast Environmental Law, said the most current delay in the process clearly shows the application was not complete.

"It really brings into question the procedural fairness issues that were raised as well in this case, in the federal court of appeal case," said Kung.


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