Canada's Bid to Buy Trans Mountain Rejected by Appeals Court

Kilometre Zero of the Trans Mountain pipeline system at the Kinder Morgan Edmonton Terminal in Edmonton.					David Bloom  Postmedia file

The Trans Mountain pipeline begins shipping oil with an initial capacity of 150,000 barrels per day.

In a significant victory for indigenous groups and environmentalists, Canada's most controversial oil pipeline project has been suspended.

Kinder Morgan also had a busy morning Strangely enough, the Federal Court of Appeal decision on the pipeline was released the same morning that Kinder Morgan's shareholders voted overwhelmingly in Houston to sell the pipeline to Canada for $4.5 billion, reports the Toronto Star.

Executive Director of the Georgia Strait Alliance Christianne Wilhelmson says the Trudeau Liberals have been shamed. "The court did its job today, they quashed this project, and this project has got to die".

For Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government, the best-case scenario for the Trans Mountain pipeline always ran along these lines: Defeat the B.C. government's legal challenges, use a charm offensive to win social licence for the project, get shovels in the ground and move quickly to find a corporate buyer for the whole works.

"Our coast was not considered by the National Energy Board and I feel that those citizens have been vindicated today", said Horgan.

"The current state of affairs in Canada is such that building a pipeline to tidewater is practically impossible", Notley said.

"The court has sent a clear signal that the rule of law will not accommodate environmental decision-making that fails to address these environmental risks", he said.

A court has overturned Ottawa's approval of the contentious Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, halting construction on the project and sending the government back to the review phase to examine the impacts of tanker traffic and consult more deeply with First Nations.

The court combined into one case almost two dozen lawsuits filed by First Nations, environmental groups and the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby calling for the energy board's review to be overturned.

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"The government made two errors that motivated the Federal Court of Appeals' decision to revoke construction approval for Trans Mountain".

The fallout from the court's decision extended to the federal government's strategy to cut greenhouse gas emissions as Alberta Premier Rachel Notley pulled the province out of Ottawa's climate plan.

The scheme had been a crucial test for Trudeau and his government, who swept into office in 2015 on promises of striking a balance between economic growth, environmental concerns and repairing the country's fraught relationship with Indigenous peoples.

The court decision is a blow to Trudeau, whose government is having a bad week after Canada was left out of new free trade deal with the USA and Mexico.

The federal government, who earlier this year announced it would spend US$3.5billion to purchase the pipeline in a bid to push the expansion forward, said it was reviewing the decision.

The federal court said that during the NEB permit process, Canada acted in "good faith" when consulting but later fell "well short of the mark" in properly consulting First Nations during the third and final stage.

The court's decision "is a major victory for Indigenous rights, coastal protection, and the fight to stop our worsening climate crisis", said Oil Change International's senior campaigner Adam Scott. "We can't stand for it".

Other First Nations, however, expressed hope that the project would proceed, including the Whispering Pines First Nation near Kamloops, B.C., part of a contingent that supports the pipeline going ahead under Indigenous control and is trying to buy it.

McKay Métis president Ron Quintal said the big lesson from the ruling is that a factor has been identified in "a flawed system that has failed the Indigenous people of this country". "Trans Mountain has been in consultations with this project for well over five years but just from the outside looking in, I don't see how any reasonable person could say that Trans Mountain hasn't done their due diligence with respect to consultation and educating all affected people of what the impact of this project is going to be".

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