Trudeau approves expansion of crude oil pipeline, says legal challenges likely

Pablo Tucker
June 22, 2019

August 10, 2017: The B.C. NDP government hires former judge Thomas Berger to provide legal advice as it seeks intervener status in the legal challenges against the project filed by municipalities and First Nations.

The Trans Mountain pipeline system runs from Alberta to B.C. and doesn't carry any product from Saskatchewan. The government purchased the project for $4.5 billion past year after Kinder Morgan walked away from it amid political and regulatory uncertainty.

Suncor commended the government for opening the door to Indigenous involvement.

He said the fact the federal government owns the pipeline won't change or hurry the process. The court said the government needed to do better, Trudeau noted.

Trans Mountain, coupled with two Liberal energy bills making their way through Parliament, have become the biggest flashpoint between the Liberals and their opponents, with Conservatives demanding the government do more to get the pipeline built and the NDP and Green party urging a full stop.

A senior official from Sohi's office said a three-month period begins only after the National Energy Board files its report, for the federal cabinet to consider its findings. The board filed its report on February 22, and the official says Sohi would not have known in the fall when that report would be filed, and whether the government would request any extensions.

"I'm not going to deal with hypothetical scenarios, but we've clearly got a country that has rule of law ... and we will deal with issues as they come forward", he said.

But, he said, it "does seem passing strange" that on Monday night Parliament passed a declaration that Canada's in a climate emergency, but then the federal government proudly announced an oil pipeline project on Tuesday afternoon.

May 25, 2017: Kinder Morgan makes its final investment decision to proceed with the development, now estimated to cost $7.4 billion, subject to the successful public offering of Kinder Morgan Canada.

"Trans Mountain is a big win for our agricultural producers of Saskatchewan", Poelzer said.

January 11, 2017: B.C. Premier Christy Clark announces her support for the project, saying Kinder Morgan has met five government conditions including a revenue-sharing agreement worth up to $1 billion.

Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, chief of the Neskonlith Indian Band, and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, also voiced their opposition to the project.

"I think Albertans are right not to celebrate wildly", Kenney said Tuesday. Part of that is the federal carbon tax, which they announced last week will come into affect in Alberta on January 1, 2020.

January 17, 2018: Kinder Morgan Canada warns the Trans Mountain expansion project could be a year behind schedule.

While industry associations lauded the second approval, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney took a more cautious approach.

The Squamish Nation has not explored ways to derive economic benefit from the project nor do they plan to join First Nations exploring the purchase of the project and its assets, said Squamish First Nation Councillor Khelsilem.

The project has caused major friction between British Columbia and Alberta.

Horgan said his government is pursuing a reference case in the Supreme Court of Canada that asks whether B.C. has the power to restrict oil shipments through its territory. The project initially 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. It is expanded in 1957 and 2008 to eventually pump up to 300,000 barrels of oil per day.

"It's a long ways from an approval to a completed pipeline", said Masson.

Local protests will be highly visible if Trans Mountain seeks to begin construction anywhere near key flashpoints in Metro Vancouver. Many pledged further action to block the project from being built.

"Instead, we should take advantage of what we have, and invest the profits in what comes next - building the clean energy future that is already at our doorstep". Vancouver police responded after a member of the crowd pushed Hamilton.

Several First Nations spoke at the pro-pipeline rally, including Shane Gottfriedson of Project Reconciliation, an Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51 per cent of the expansion project.

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