'Another critical victory': Kenney applauds Supreme Court dismissal of TMX appeal

Marco Green
July 3, 2020

Members of the Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band say they won't stop in their fight against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, despite their appeal being thrown out by the Supreme Court of Canada. "The Government of Canada is committed to a renewed relationship with Indigenous people and understands that consultations on major projects have a critical role in building that renewed relationship".

In a joint statement Thursday, the first Nations leaders said they are "extremely disappointed" by the decision, but vowed to explore all legal options to keep fighting the project.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court dismissed the request for an appeal brought forward by the Coldwater Indian Band, Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation, and the Ts'elxweyeqw Tribes, effectively bringing a years-long battle over the pipeline expansion to an end.

They had 60 days to appeal to the Supreme Court, which did not offer reasons for the dismissal.

"Construction of TMX is underway and has already created more than 4,900 good, well-paying jobs, will help us gain access to new markets for our resources and generate revenue to help fund clean energy and climate change solutions".

"The courts have said otherwise, the federal government has said otherwise and so my focus now is to make sure that our coast has got every available protection in place for the increase of tanker traffic that will inevitably come from a completed pipeline project".

"And that the vast majority, 95 per cent, of the affected First Nations, either actively support the Trans Mountain project, or at least do not oppose it".

Ottawa approved the project again in 2019 after a second round of consultations.

The Federal Court of Appeal dismissed challenges in February to Ottawa's second approval of the project. The First Nations disagreed and asked the Supreme Court to hear the case.

The bands still have outstanding concerns about the impact the pipeline could have on drinking water.

The pipeline expansion still faces stiff environmental opposition from British Columbia's provincial government but construction is under way.

It would almost triple the entire system's output of diluted bitumen and refined products.

"Vancouver is not the ideal location for diluted bitumen terminal".

Three indigenous groups, who also have environmental concerns, sought to appeal the decision.

The pipeline has put Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government, which bought it in 2018 to ensure the expansion overcame legal and regulatory hurdles, in a political quandary. About 99 percent of Canada's exports now go to refiners in the U.S., where limits on pipeline and refinery capacity mean Canadian oil sells at a discount.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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