Federal Court of Appeal quashes approval of Trans Mountain

Federal Court of Appeal quashes approval of Trans Mountain

Federal Court of Appeal quashes approval of Trans Mountain

In its decision, the Federal Court of Appeal said Ottawa - which is expected to close a deal on Friday to buy the pipeline from Kinder Morgan for Can$4.5 billion (US$3.5 billion) - must take a second look at the project, taking greater care to consult with indigenous tribes and consider marine traffic impacts.

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau said earlier in the day that the federal government is dedicated to move forward with the Trans Mountain project.

"Let's be clear, without Alberta that plan isn't worth the paper it's written on", said Alberta Premier Rachel Notley during a press conference today.

Tany Yao, UCP MLA for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, said it was premature to call the project dead, but said the court decision was "an insurmountable delay and a result of the bureaucracy of changing the rules on the fly".

"We would like to see a NAFTA agreement sooner rather than later", he said. 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. The project features four pump stations along its 1,150-kilometre route and a marine dock that connects loading facilities on the east side of Edmonton with ocean tankers in Burnaby, B.C. The company's shareholders overwhelmingly approved the sale Thursday morning in Calgary in a previously scheduled vote held just after the court's decision was released.

Dawson quashed the order to approve construction on the project, and sent it back to the federal government "for appropriate action, if it sees fit, to address these flaws, and, later, proper redetermination". "So we will be considering our next steps in light of that".

On Thursday, Morneau said his government inherited a flawed environmental review process from the Harper government and "made efforts to improve it".

Trudeau has faced mounting criticism for forging ahead with the purchase in order to guarantee the pipeline's completion.

Opposition groups argue the risks of oil spills in the Salish Sea - home to an already-endangered killer whales - and the potential hazards of increased petroleum tanker traffic are too high a price to pay for an economic boom.

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The ruling means the government will have to redo part of its consultation with Indigenous groups.

"This decision takes things further along the path to clarity in terms of what's required to discharge consultation obligations, but some uncertainty remains".

Thus, the court is ordering cabinet to direct the NEB to reconsider its approval of the project and remedy some of the concerns raised by the court before cabinet can give the final go-ahead for construction.

The Squamish Nation cheered the ruling as a recognition of Indigenous rights. "They did not behave honourably and the courts agreed every step of the way". However, this is still a victory for First Nations people and the environment.

The decision also triggered dismay from business groups and supporters of the pipeline expansion, with Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer calling it "devastating news for energy workers across Canada and for Canadian taxpayers". "They have no idea how they're actually going to get this project built", said Scheer. "It signals that governments, corporations, and funders must all respect Indigenous peoples' right to free, prior, and informed consent". A federal appeals court, however, has now put a stop to that.

Notley wants Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government to immediately appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada and call an emergency session of Parliament to fix the process so that the pipeline can be built.

Without the pipeline expansion, Notley said, Canada will continue to rely on exporting its oil through the United States - a scenario she said "no other country on earth would accept".

"Pipeline construction for the #TransMountain Expansion Project has officially begun!"

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