'We're winning': First Nations react to court's Trans Mountain decision

Canadian court blocks controversial oil pipeline project | TheHill

He said the Trans Mountain decision was the 264th, and was a "replay" of the ruling that killed Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline two years ago.

Both North Shore First Nations have been adamantly opposed to the pipeline project, and have criticized the federal government for not adequately consulting them.

A Canadian court sided unanimously with environmentalist and indigenous groups on Thursday in a decision that indefinitely halts the construction of the controversial Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project.

"In its written ruling, justices of the federal court noted that meaningful consultation is not intended simply to allow indigenous peoples "'to blow off steam'" before the Crown proceeds to do what it always meant to do.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government approved Trans Mountain in 2016 and was so determined to see it built that it announced plans this spring to buy the pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion.

The expansion would triple the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline from near Edmonton to Burnaby to 890,000 barrels a day.

Separately, Kinder Morgan Canada shareholders voted on Thursday to approve the pipeline's sale to Ottawa.

The certificate approving construction and operation of the project has been nullified, leaving the project in legal limbo until the energy regulator and the government reassess their approvals to satisfy the court's demands.

The 2018 provincial budget forecasted a debt load that would balloon to $96 billion by 2023 from $54 billion this year.

In a statement Coldwater Indian Band Chief Lee Spahan said "Thankfully, the court has stepped in where Canada has failed to protect and respect our rights and our water". Proponents will also be required to improve consultations with First Nations.

But it was the equivalent of putting a bandage on a gaping wound and ultimately, the cabinet signed off on something it should not have, the court ruled.

The NEB will have to restart its review of the expansion project.

Some provinces are fighting the federal climate plan in court; the provincial government of Saskatchewan says it will not submit its plan for the federal government to review, and earlier this summer it filed a constitutional reference to Saskatchewan's Court of Appeal to ask whether Ottawa has the right to impose various taxes on jurisdictions. The Index's 2018 report described Canada "as one of the largest producers of absolute greenhouse gases as well as per capita emissions".

Canada's finance minister, Bill Morneau, echoed Trudeau's sentiments at a press conference on Thursday, saying that "we are absolutely committed to moving forward with this project", but adding that the government had yet to decide whether it would appeal.

"It ensures that the project will only proceed when flaws in the plan have been addressed, which we feel will lead to a more acceptable outcome", NSBIA president Bryce Herman said in the statement.

"A long time ago, we said they could do this the easy way or the hard way".

That failure "was so critical that the Governor in Council could not functionally make the kind of assessment of the project's environmental effects and the public interest that the (environmental assessment) legislation requires", says the ruling written by Justice Eleanor Dawson. They were supported by the province of British Columbia, which was an intervener, as was Alberta.

"The unjustified exclusion of project-related marine shipping from the definition of the project rendered the board's report impermissibly flawed", the court ruled.

"As a government, we take our responsibilities seriously".

"But also it's a day that we must reflect on our journey up to this point in our opposition to the Kinder Morgan Trans mountain expansion project".

Without the pipeline expansion, Notley said, Canada will continue to rely on exporting its oil through the United States - a scenario she said "no other country on earth would accept".

Meanwhile B.C. Premier John Horgan told reporters the court case "has always been about First Nations rights" and congratulated the involved Indigenous groups.

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