kinder morgan pipeline
(Kinder Morgan)

The BC NDP government has hired an outside lawyer and is seeking intervener status in a legal challenge to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

At a news conference today, Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister George Heyman and Attorney General David Eby outlined the legal and consultation steps being taken to challenge the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

External Counsel To Government Hired

The British Columbia government has secured Thomas Berger, QC, OC, OBC as external counsel to government in the legal action related to the Trans Mountain pipeline.

“Mr. Berger will provide legal advice to government on the options for participation in legal challenges,” said Eby.

“We are committed to fighting for B.C.’s interests and it is government’s desire to seek intervenor status in legal challenges to federal approval of the pipeline expansion and increased oil tanker traffic off B.C.’s coast.”

The hearings for those legal challenges are scheduled to begin in federal court later this fall.

Indigenous Consultation

The Province also announced that it will fulfill its duty of meaningful consultation with Indigenous people concerning this project.

Those consultations include discussions regarding potential impacts to Aboriginal rights and title – a responsibility that has been identified in a number of court cases.

In particular, that duty must be fulfilled as consultation relates to environmental assessment certificate (EAC) requirements. Until these consultations are completed in a way that meets the Province’s legal obligations, work on the project on public lands cannot proceed.

“Going forward we will be reviewing policies to outline how our government expects to further meet our commitments to First Nations as well as to all British Columbians with regard to defending our air, land and water,” said Heyman. “This policy review will clarify government policy for decision-makers as they evaluate future permits and work plans.”

Pipeline Expansion “not in BC’s best interests”

“Our government made it clear that a seven-fold increase in heavy oil tankers in the Vancouver harbour is not in B.C.’s best interests,” said Heyman. “Not for our economy, our environment, or thousands of existing jobs. We will use all available tools to protect our coastal waters and our province’s future.”

The government says it will continue to explore other tools to hold Kinder Morgan’s project plans to the high standards of environmental protection and Indigenous consultation that British Columbians expect.

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