Vancouver, Squamish pipeline challenges dismissed

Vancouver to pay Kinder Morgan for legal costs after B.C.'s top court hands company twin victories

As Grauer pointed out in his opening remarks to both cases, the decisions are not the end of the legal hurdles facing the pipeline. Two separate rulings today have come down in favour of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion. However Justice Grauer found that "the consultation that took place was adequate, and ... it was reasonable and lawful, in the circumstances of this case, for the provincial Crown to rely on the [National Energy Board] assessment as the assessment for the British Columbia process".

Rulings from the BC Supreme Court have made Kinder Morgan's path to the West Coast a little clearer.

Texas energy company Kinder Morgan scored a legal victory on Thursday as the B.C. Supreme Court confirmed the provincial government's approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project was valid.

This case was launched by the Squamish Nation on April 20, 2017, when it alleged the province had failed in its duty to consult, urging the court to intervene.

In regard to the Vancouver case, Grauer went to great pains to clarify what questions his court could and could not answer.

The legal challenges are just two of several hanging over Kinder Morgan Canada's pipeline expansion, but the rulings were nonetheless hailed by the Alberta and federal governments as a step forward for the project.

"Did [the province] follow the law? It also does not decide constitutional questions now being considered by other courts", reads a statement from the city.

"Despite all of the cacophony, British Columbia public opinion is coming around to the merits of having a country that is united on economic development, has infrastructure, has a coherent export strategy", said Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson.

Eby said the government had no further comment since there may be appeals.

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"There is no doubt that Squamish is deeply disappointed in the approval of the TMX notwithstanding the conditions attached to that approval". "It strenuously opposed the project and continues to do so".

"But. I must concern myself not with the result but with the process".

"Something that we do take away from this court decision which we kind of knew all along and the courts kind of affirmed is that our challenge in the federal court of appeal is much more significant -that we've joined with five other first nations in challenging the federal approval of the pipeline". It argued the construction would do serious damage to many areas of the city.

The City of Vancouver says it is disappointed by the decision.

Grauer also stated the province conducted appropriate and sufficient consultation with the First Nations.

"We have a right to practice our culture, our way of life, and to continue our right to self-determination in our territories", Khelsilem wrote. "This is a right that we have never surrendered, and it is a right we will continue to defend", he said.

Squamish Nation councillor Khelsilem said his community was "greatly disappointed" by the decision and would continue to pursue legal action against the project.

"Our government has taken a balanced approach to defending our environment and our economy while fulfilling our legal obligations and respecting the rule of law", he said in a press release.

Meanwhile, Trans Mountain and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley were both pleased with the court's decision Thursday. "While other decisions remain before the courts, the record in the courts of TMX proponents is promising". "The failures of the past will not be repeated". If built, it would triple the capacity of the existing Trans Mountain pipeline system, allowing it to carry 890,000 barrels of petroleum products including diluted bitumen from Alberta's oilsands to a marine terminal in Burnaby. They have 30 days to submit an appeal to the B.C. Court of Appeal. Vancouver said it is considering its options.

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