Federal Court of Appeal quashes of approval of Trans Mountain

Steel pipe to be used in the oil pipeline construction of Kinder Morgan Canada's Trans Mountain expansion sits at a stockpile site in Kamloops

Oil industry officials and analysts expressed dismay after the Federal Court of Appeal said Thursday that further environmental assessment of the $7.4-billion project is required, citing a failure by the Liberal government to adequately consult First Nations whose rights would be affected by the project.

A demonstrator holds a flag with an image of Earth during a protest against the Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. Trans Mountain pipeline expansion on June 2.

Canadian Fist Nations communities rejoiced Thursday after the expansion to the Trans Mountain oil pipeline was suspended by a unanimous vote from the Federal Court.

Morneau said the government remains committed to the project.

"It means upholding our commitments with Indigenous Peoples and it means responsibly protecting Canada's and Canadians' investment". "And I'd like to take this opportunity to thank that massive infrastructure that was pulled together in terms of grassroots people, indigenous leadership, and rank-and-file British Columbians and Canadians".

"When we're able to get those products to our export markets", Moe said.

The scheme had been a crucial test for Trudeau and his government, who swept into office in 2015 on promises of striking a balance between economic growth, environmental concerns and repairing the country's fraught relationship with Indigenous peoples. "That is extremely alarming".

A Canadian court has overturned Ottawa's approval of a hotly-contested pipeline project - throwing plans to almost triple the flow of Alberta's landlocked bitumen to the west coast into limbo - in a ruling hailed by environmentalists and Indigenous groups.

The court combined into one case almost two dozen lawsuits calling for the energy board's review to be overturned.

Bill Morneau, Canada's finance minister, said the government is reviewing the court's decision carefully, but it has not yet decided what its exact response will be.

"What we really saw today was a confirmation that our government's decision to buy this pipeline because of political risks that were hard for a private actor to manage was absolutely the right [one]", he said.

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"There was no meaningful two-way dialogue", Justice Eleanor Dawson wrote on behalf of the panel.

The Squamish Nation welcomed the ruling in favour of Indigenous rights.

One of the key reasons the courts have quashed the government's approvals to build the Trans Mountain expansion project is the potential impacts to endangered resident killer whales.

Reuben George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, which borders the Burrard Inlet, said the Indigenous coalition that has spent years in court challenges have won "a David and Goliath fight".

Environmental groups and First Nations hailed the ruling.

In July, three were placed on the site of an ancient Secwepemc village in North Thompson River Provincial Park near Clearwater, British Columbia.

The Rainforest Action Network cheered the court's decision, saying, "This is a great victory for Indigenous communities everywhere fighting against destructive projects being imposed upon their territories".

The ruling all but ensures a planned 2021 start date won't be met for the expansion, which is created to almost triple capacity on the Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C., pipeline to 890,000 barrels a day.

Premier John Horgan said this morning that the ruling vindicates the criticisms that the National Energy Board approval process was flawed because, in part, marine traffic was not adequately considered.

"My sense of it would be that the federal government should get on with the proper consultation and view this as a delay", he said. Our job was defending BC interests and respecting the rule of law.

"I think what I am most satisfied with is that when we formed a government, we looked at what were the practical things we could do within the context of the Canadian family to make our arguments and I think that we've done that effectively". Like the City of Burnaby, the City of Vancouver is opposed to the pipeline; Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said Thursday the court was correct because the pipeline "put our coast at huge risk of oil spills".

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