The Supreme Court of Canada rejected BC’s request to allow the provincial government to limit shipments of heavy crude oil through the province, such as the bitumen that would flow through the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion.
The decision is a blow to the BC NDP government’s efforts to stop the Trans Mountain expansion, which Premier John Horgan has said poses a risk to the province’s coastline and environment.
BC argued it should have jurisdiction to regulate certain environmental aspects of the Trans Mountain Pipeline. However, the Supreme Court sided with a lower court that already ruled the transport of resources like oil falls under federal jurisdiction.
“Clearly, we are disappointed by the decision, but this does not reduce our concerns regarding the potential of a catastrophic oil spill on our coast,” Horgan said in a statement.
Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, Seamus O’Regan, welcomed the decision.
“It’s a core responsibility of our government to get our resources to market and support jobs,” O’Regan tweeted.
I welcome today’s SCC ruling. It’s a core responsibility of our government to get our resources to market & support jobs. We know this is only possible when we work to address environmental, Indigenous peoples’ & local concerns. We continue to do so every step of the way on TMX.
— Seamus O’Regan (@SeamusORegan) January 16, 2020
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney framed the decision as a win for Alberta.
The decision at the Supreme Court today is a big win for the Trans Mountain pipeline, and a big win for Alberta.
Let’s get it built! pic.twitter.com/bdXuGBewbg
— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) January 16, 2020
The Trans Mountain expansion project would twin the existing pipeline that transport bitumen, a type of heavy crude oil, from Alberta’s oil sands to port in Burnaby, BC. The project would triple the amount of oil shipped per day, and result in increased tanker traffic in the Burrard Inlet, which environmentalists say increases the risk of a spill.