VANCOUVER—A coalition of environmental advocates in B.C. is taking the National Energy Board to Canada’s highest court in a challenge of the pipeline approval process.
The group has filed its constitutional action against the independent federal tribunal that reviews oil pipelines, arguing restrictive rules unfairly limit public participation in the pipeline debate.
The group of landowners, business people, academics and environmental groups contend the process impedes the charter rights of Canadians and they are appealing a Federal Court’s refusal to hear their application against the board.
Lawyer David Martin says his clients believe it’s wrong for the board to claim it can’t consider scientific evidence regarding the long-term impacts of exporting crude oil.
He says that potential environmental and health impacts of pipeline projects mean full public hearings are necessary and they want the Supreme Court of Canada to direct the board to do its job properly.
The board has been criticized for its approach at hearings for the proposed Northern Gateway project and Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline, both of which would carry bitumen from Alberta through B.C. for export to Asia.