Legal challenges to Trans Mountain Pipeline come to an end — for now
The Supreme Court of Canada has put an end to all legal challenges against the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion. The latest development came as some First Nations tried to appeal an earlier court ruling.
Canada’s top court did not allow the appeal filed by the First Nations, including Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish here in greater Vancouver, B.C.
They were trying to appeal a ruling by a lower court that upheld the Canadian government’s decision to proceed with the controversial pipeline, which goes through their traditional territories.
The First Nations say they were not adequately consulted in the approval process. Back in 2018, a federal appeal court did temporarily halt the construction of the pipeline finding the Canadian government needed more consultation with First Nations. The government says that did subsequently happen.
As usual, the Supreme Court did not give any reasons for dismissing the appeal.
Expansion of the existing Trans Mountain Pipeline would see an increase to 890,000 barrels a day of crude oil, known as bitumen, flowing from Alberta to suburban Vancouver. The oil would then be placed on oil tankers that would sail through the Salish Sea. This could see a sevenfold increase of tankers through the area.
Both First Nations and environmental groups are vowing to continue the fight against the expansion, either with new legal challenges or with other forms of protest.
Construction of a portion of the pipeline itself is underway near Kamloops along with an expansion of a storage facility in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby.
Several Northwest tribes, such as Swinomish, Tulalip, Lummi and Suquamish, also have voiced opposition to the expansion.