British Columbia Vows to Block Pipeline Expansion

Posted August 12, 2017

The British Columbia provincial government has monkey-wrenched the start of construction for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, announcing Thursday that it is taking legal and administrative steps to stop the project.

"This project, which was approved by the Trudeau government after lengthy review, would create thousands of jobs across British Columbia", Coleman said in a statement.

Kinder Morgan can engage in construction on its own property and in the province of Alberta, so Anderson's statement doesn't directly contradict what Heyman said.

Werner Antweiler, associate professor at the University of BC's Sauder School of Business, doesn't think the B.C. government has a very strong case because, ultimately, interprovincial pipelines are a federal jurisdiction.

"There are a number of permits issued, but they can not be acted on until the company meets the requirements of the environmental assessment certificate that was issued by the previous government of British Columbia", Heyman said. Until these consultations are completed in a way that meets the Province's legal obligations, work on the project on public lands can not proceed.

The project's prospect has become more uncertain after a left-leaning government took power in British Columbia in June, although the administration has since softened its rhetoric.

Thomas Berger

"We will use every tool available to defend BC's Coast in the face of this threat and we will continue to explore every tool possible to hold Kinder Morgan's project proposal and plans to the highest standards of environmental protection and Indigenous consultation".

Ian Anderson, president of Kinder Morgan Canada, said in a statement the company is reviewing the announcement.

Kinder Morgan Canada remains committed to working with the province and meeting its NEB and environmental certificate conditions, he said. "We have undertaken thorough, extensive and meaningful consultations with Aboriginal peoples, communities and individuals and remain dedicated to those efforts and relationships as we move forward with consultation activities in September". That's when Barrett appointed Berger as a B.C. Supreme Court Judge.

The NDP government appears to be making good on its promise to oppose Kinder Morgan's Transmountain Pipeline expansion. "British Columbians should be rightly concerned that their government is spending tax dollars to stop a project that will not only boost our local economies but also benefit the rest of our country".

If granted, the province would be allowed to fully back the challenges, even though it isn't named in the lawsuits.

Heyman told reporters that the company "cannot put shovels in the ground" on public land as the government awaits advice from lawyer Tom Berger, an expert in Indigenous legal issues.