Government hires outside counsel to begin Trans Mountain pipeline legal challenge

George Heyman and Attorney General David Eby

NDP government won't permit Kinder Morgan to put shovels in ground on public land for pipeline

It also says five of eight environmental management plans the company submitted as part of the province's environmental certificate requirements have failed to meet the threshold for First Nations consultation.

The announcement adds to the potential hurdles for the Trans Mountain expansion and raises the potential for a dispute with the federal and Alberta governments, which both maintain B.C. has no right to stop the project.

The government also will seek to join in legal challenges to the federal approval of the pipeline past year, Heyman said. The review goes ahead in November. Tanker traffic will increase seven times from what it is now. Until these consultations are completed in a way that meets the Province's legal obligations, work on the project on public lands can not proceed.

Not all First Nations in B.C. are opposed to the project.

The Province says they will continue to "explore other tools to hold Kinder Morgan's project plans to the high standards of environmental protection and Indigenous consultation that British Columbians expect".

Kinder Morgan Canada plans to start work multiple stages of the project in September.

The project would nearly triple the capacity of the current Trans Mountain pipeline to the west coast.

Provided the federal court grants the government intervener status, the government plans to argue that consultations with First Nations have not been adequate.

NDP government won't permit Kinder Morgan to put shovels in ground on public land for pipeline
Reaction to the Trans Mountain move by the BC NDP

Kinder Morgan said in a statement it takes the British Columbia government's comments seriously and remains willing to meet with provincial officials.

"We have undertaken thorough, extensive and meaningful consultations with Aboriginal Peoples, communities and individuals and remain dedicated to those efforts and relationships".

The company has projected 15,000 construction jobs will be created as the project proceeds.

Anderson's statement sets the stage for a messy legal battle over B.C.'s ability to affect a National Energy Board decision over a pipeline that crosses provincial boundaries.

"We look forward to working with every province and territory to ensure a strong future for Canadians, but the facts and evidence do not change", Deslongchamps said. "They will be in violation of their environmental assessment certificate, the one that exists today". "That is what drove us in the choices we made and we will stand by those choices". It was supported by British Columbia's former BC Liberal premier, Christy Clark who was ousted in June by NDP Leader John Horgan.

If granted, the province would be allowed to fully back the challenges, even though it isn't named in the lawsuits. Many have signed benefits agreements with Kinder Morgan.

"We're beyond relieved that Kinder Morgan won't be able to put shovels in the ground next month", said Peter McCartney of the Wilderness Committee.

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