Reaction swift following court ruling puts Trans Mountain pipeline project in limbo

Reaction swift following court ruling puts Trans Mountain pipeline project in limbo

WATCH: It’s being called a critical win for the climate and coastal ecosystems. the federal court of appeal today quashing Ottawa’s approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion meaning work on the controversial project has stopped. Tess van Straaten has more.

There has been a large amount of reaction following the Federal Court of Appeals’ decision Thursday morning that has put construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion up in the air.

The court quashed the federal government’s approval of the project saying the National Energy Board’s review was so flawed, Ottawa could not rely on it to base its decision to give the pipeline twinning the green light in 2016.

The written decision also said the federal government failed to engage in meaningful consultations with First Nations before approving the project.

Shortly after the court ruling, Kinder Morgan Canada shareholders voted more than 99 per cent in favour of its $4.5 billion deal of the controversial project to the federal government.

On Twitter, Trans Mountain said it remains committed to building the project, “in consideration of communities and the environment, with meaningful consultation with Indigenous Peoples and for the benefit of Canadians.”

The decision is a major victory for opponents of the project which include the B.C. government, some First Nations and environmental groups.

B.C. Premier John Horgan reacted by saying the decision is a “great day” for First Nations and all opponents of the project.

“For those in British Columbia who have been saying for years now that the NEB process was flawed and that the consequences of a spill were significant, have been vindicated,” Horgan said.

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver said the court’s ruling showed it was a failure by the federal government to look past the impact of increased marine traffic in its approval process.

“This was an outrageous omission on the part of the federal government that flies in the face of their stated commitment to evidence-based decision-making. The NEB acknowledged that the marine traffic from this project posed significant harm to the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales,” Weaver said in a statement.

“The government must now justify to Canadians, and to the world, why it is willing to herald the death knell of this irreplaceable species if it continues to pursue this project.”

In a release applauding the court’s ruling, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation said it viewed consultation from the federal government as inadequate, calling it “window dressing”.

“We had a strong sense that the decision had already (been) made before we even sat down,” Tsleil-Waututh Nation Chief Maureen Thomas said.

“It was clear from the timing of the decision that they did not meaningfully consider much of the information we provided. The court has agreed with us on every issue.”

The Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) called the court’s decision a major blow and a huge disappointment.

“This decision is a stunning setback for workers, their families, our economy and Canada’s reputation as a place to invest,”PCA President Paul de Jong said in a release.

“As a country, we’re losing out on a major opportunity to generate thousands of jobs and billions in revenue. It sends out a message that Canada cannot be relied upon as an energy supplier.”

Victoria NDP MP Murray Rankin called the decision monumental and highlighted a failure of the federal government to get the pipeline project through.

“So whether they appeal it to the Supreme Court of Canada, which is one option, that’s two years away. Or whether they decide to consult and accommodate like they should have and redo the process to deal with the marine issues that those of us on the coast have been saying they should have done from the start, I don’t know,” Rankin said.

“Either way, it’s really a crisis for the government of Canada.”

Federal Progressive Conservative leader Andrew Sheer went on the offensive against the Liberal government.

“Justin Trudeau is spending $4.5 billion in taxpayer money to buy a pipeline he can’t even build. This is quickly becoming the most expensive scandal in the history of Canadian politics.”

Alberta premier Rachel Notley, who has fought for the pipeline’s construction by saying it’s in the best interest of the country, has not yet commented.

Saskatchewan premier Scott Moe went to Twitter by saying, “Unbelievable. The federal government now owns a multi-billion dollar pipeline it can’t get built.”

File photo.

File photo.


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