B.C. government loses Trans Mountain appeal in federal court
The proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion has passed one legal hurdle but still faces another.
The Federal Court of Appeal ruled against the B.C. government’s bid to appeal a National Energy Board ruling allowing Kinder Morgan to bypass local bylaws during construction. The NEB had ruled in December that the energy giant does not have to abide by the City of Burnaby’s zoning and tree-cutting guidelines because the federal scope and jurisdiction of the project supersede local bylaws.
The B.C. government argued that the NEB was wrong in defining federal jurisdiction too broadly.
The federal appeals court decision was praised by Alberta Premier Rachel Notley but scorned by protesters on Burnaby Mountain.
The ruling is a “step forward for market access, the national climate plan, and a strong Canadian economy,” Notley wrote in a Facebook post. She said Alberta has won every case in the fight over Trans Mountain.
“Your Alberta government will not back down until this pipeline is built and the national interest is secured.”
B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman said in a statement: “We are very disappointed that the Federal Court of Appeal has dismissed our application to appeal. This, in effect, allows the local permitting process to be needlessly undermined.”
The court ruling kicked off three days of protests in which dozens were arrested, including Elizabeth May, leader of the federal Green Party.
A case is still before the courts brought by a coalition of First Nations and environmental groups, along with the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby that is fighting the legitimacy of the NEB process in its entirety. A decision in that case is expected soon.