OTTAWA—The Federal Court of Appeal is allowing British Columbia to be an intervener in a legal fight against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, but with some conditions.
Several First Nations and municipalities filed legal challenges against Ottawa’s approval of the $7.4-billion project that would triple the capacity of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline and increase tanker traffic from the Vancouver area to the south portion of Vancouver Island.
B.C.’s new NDP government, which has been opposed to the project, applied to be an intervener on Aug. 22, missing the initial deadline of April 13 that fell before the May provincial election.
Justice David Stratas said in the ruling that while B.C.’s involvement in the case comes late, the hearings set for Oct. 2 to 13 will go ahead as scheduled.
That means the province must meet the same Sept. 1 deadline to submit a 15-page document of facts that the Alberta government, which is also an intervener, has had months to prepare.
B.C.’s Environment Minister George Heyman says the government welcomes the decision that will allow officials to represent the province’s interests in court.
“We will continue to defend B.C.’s coast and the economic and environmental interests that are so important to British Columbians,” he says in a news release.
The court has prohibited B.C. from introducing new issues or evidence at the hearing and ruled the province must pay $7,500 to Trans Mountain, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan Canada, for having to prepare a late response to the arguments.
Project meets expansion conditions
The court ruling comes as The National Energy Board says the Trans Mountain pipeline project has met conditions required for the expansion of its Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby, B.C.
Trans Mountain, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan Canada, has plans to expand the terminal’s dock to load three tankers, up from one, and increase the number of delivery lines connected to its other Burnaby terminal.
The board says in a letter to Kinder Morgan published on its website Wednesday that there are 157 conditions imposed on the project overall and the pre-construction conditions specifically pertaining to the terminal have now been satisfied.
Trans Mountain refiled its environmental protection plans for the terminal on Aug. 17, which the board said included details for mitigating previously raised issues about the project and evidence that it held additional public consultations.