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BC to fight pipeline in court

BC to fight pipeline in court

The B.C. NDP government has hired Thomas Berger, a former BC Supreme Court judge who chaired the Royal Commission on the failed Mackenzie Valley pipeline project in the 1970s, to lead a legal battle against the $7.4 billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

A potentially steep increase in heavy-oil tanker traffic off Vancouver's harbor "is not in British Columbia's interests", said George Heyman, the province's environment minister.

"We are committed to fighting for B.C.'s interests and it is government's desire to seek intervenor status in legal challenges to federal approval of the pipeline expansion and increased oil tanker traffic off B.C.'s coast", added Eby.

"Until these consultations are completed in a way that that meets these legal obligations, work on this project on public land can not proceed", he said.

Bridget DePape is taken into custody on Burnaby Mountain in November 2014 during a demonstration to protest the planned Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Kinder Morgan Canada remains committed to working with the province and meeting its NEB and environmental certificate conditions, he said.

The New Democrats' power-sharing deal with the Greens also pledged to fight the project, promising to use "every tool available" to stop it.

"Until those plans are completed, Kinder Morgan - with the exception of private land, and with the exception of some clearing of right-of-way - can not put shovels in the ground", he said.

"Going forward we will be reviewing policies to outline how our government expects to further meet our commitments to First Nations as well as to all British Columbians with regard to defending our air, land and water", said Heyman.

He said the majority of the project is on public and First Nations lands.

With its approval from the National Energy Board late past year and endorsement under the previous BC Liberal government, Kinder Morgan has been pushing ahead in meeting outstanding conditions and getting ready for construction.

"We have undertaken thorough, extensive and meaningful consultations with Aboriginal Peoples, communities and individuals and remain dedicated to those efforts and relationships". "They will be in violation of their environmental assessment certificate, the one that exists today".

Rich Coleman, the leader of the opposition B.C. Liberals, also released a statement, saying the NDP's move "continues to drive home to investors that our province is not open for business or investment of any kind".

Notley said she was pleased that in Thursday's announcement, the government moved away from discussing halting the pipeline and shifted to making sure environmental and First Nations concerns are met. Many have signed benefits agreements with Kinder Morgan.


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