Rulings from the BC Supreme Court have made Kinder Morgan’s path to the West Coast a little clearer.
Both Squamish Nation and the City of Vancouver had filed challenges against the Province of British Columbia’s decision to grant an environmental assessment certificate (EAC) for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Project, with Squamish Nation stating that they were not adequately consulted with prior to the decision, and the City of Vancouver stating that the province failed to conduct a proper assessment before issuing the EAC.
Both decisions were delivered in Vancouver on Thursday by Justice Christover Grauer, and both ruled in the province’s favour.
According to court records, Justice Grauer found that the Province of British Columbia had been obliged to issue an EAC, as the pipeline fell under the federal government’s jurisdiction — being an interprovincial undertaking — and that “the Ministers’ decision to issue an EAC to the TMX fell within the range of possible, defensible outcomes.”
The judge also found that the province had conducted sufficient consultation with Squamish Nation prior to issuing the EAC.
“I find that in issuing the EAC in this case, the Ministers’ conclusion, that consultation and accommodation sufficient to satisfy section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, had occurred, was reasonable and entitled to deference,” Grauer had stated.
Squamish Nation disappointed
According to a release from Squamish Nation, elected councillor and spokesperson Khelsilem stated that he is disappointed in the decision, but that they will continue the fight against the pipeline project.
“We have a right to practice our culture, our way of life, and to continue our right to self-determination in our territories. This is a right that we have never surrendered, and it is a right we will continue to defend,” he said.
“As elected leaders we have a sacred obligation to continue to fight the pipeline on behalf of the Squamish people.”
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley also released a statement following the decisions, stating that she does not plan to quit the fight from her side of the border, either.
“The Supreme Court of British Columbia threw out two more challenges to the project. While other decisions remain before the courts, the record in the courts of TMX proponents is promising,” she said in the release.
“This pipeline is unlike any other in that it has been rigorously reviewed, meaningful consultation has taken place and it is paired with an effective climate protection plan. The failures of the past will not be repeated. The Government of Alberta will not stop fighting until we get the job done. We will get this pipeline built.”
Kinder Morgan has set a May 31 deadline to decide if it will continue on with, or cancel, the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project.