Canadian Manufacturing

Supreme Court dismisses Burnaby’s case against Trans Mountain pipeline [UPDATED]

The Canadian Press

Canadian Manufacturing
Operations Regulation Oil & Gas Public Sector

This was one of the last court challenges to the oil pipeline expansion project

OTTAWA—The Alberta government is “batting a thousand” when it comes to fighting for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Premier Rachel Notley said Thursday, after the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed an appeal by the City of Burnaby on construction of the controversial line.

“When the B.C. government tried to overstep its legal and constitutional authority, we took bold action—and they backed down,” she said in a social media post.

“When the City of Burnaby tried to block the Trans Mountain Pipeline in court, we intervened—and we won in court and we won again today.”

Notley said the courts have made 17 straight rulings in favour of Trans Mountain.


The Burnaby appeal was one of the last remaining court challenges being fought by opponents to a project that has pitted British Columbia and First Nations against Alberta and Ottawa.

Several B.C. First Nations are involved in a Federal Court of Appeal case expected to be decided soon that targets Ottawa’s approval of the project.

Burnaby asked the country’s highest court last spring to consider overturning a lower court decision that denied the port city leave to appeal a ruling by the National Energy Board.

That ruling allowed Kinder Morgan to bypass local bylaws during construction of the pipeline expansion, which would triple the amount of diluted bitumen and other oil products moving between the Edmonton-area and port facilities in Burnaby.

The federal government approved the pipeline expansion in 2016, but the project faces significant opposition in B.C.

Burnaby had appealed the NEB’s decision to the Federal Court of Appeal, which dismissed the appeal with costs on March 23.

Earlier this week, protesters outside a cabinet retreat in Nanaimo, B.C., accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of fiddling “while B.C. burns,” referring to the province’s raging wildfires that some have attributed to climate change.

Related: Protest accuses Trudeau of fiddling on pipeline while climate change burns B.C.

The cabinet met with B.C.’s NDP premier, John Horgan, who reiterated his government’s staunch opposition to the pipeline expansion project, which he said would result in a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic off B.C.’s coast and, thus, increase the chances of a “catastrophic spill.”

In May, Trudeau’s Liberals announced a decision to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta to the B.C. coast and related infrastructure for $4.5 billion. The government has also committed to spend billions more to build the controversial expansion.


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