New Challenges to Trans Mountain Expansion Allowed

The long-delayed Trans Mountain pipeline has again ran into legal obstacles. On Wednesday Canada's Federal Court of Appeal agreed to hear six challenges to the Canadian government's earlier approval of an expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline.

The court said that the six challenges related to the government's duty to consult aboriginals, called First Nations and that they must proceed on strict, short deadlines.

"The applicants do acknowledge that the Government of Canada introduced some new initiatives to assist consultation and added some conditions on the project approval that was ultimately given," the court said in its decision. "But to them this is just window-dressing, box-ticking and nice-sounding words, not the hard work of taking on board their concerns, exploring possible solutions, and collaborating to get to a better place."

As some indigenous groups fear spills and the continued expansion of Alberta's oil sands, projects to expand or build new Canadian pipelines have become deeply contentious in recent years.

"The (project) has already undergone a lengthy, thorough and extensive regulatory review process, including extensive consultation with all stakeholders," Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers Chief Executive Tim McMillan said in a statement.


$23 Million Marketing Effort Intends to Bolster Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Among Albertans

Alberta’s government is ramping up their Trans Mountain pipeline expansion marketing efforts through a $23.4 million effort.

The campaign is called “Keep Canada Working”, and is aimed at getting people to support the project by educating them of the economic benefits.

“It is a win to make sure that more Canadians understand it (Trans Mountain) better than maybe they did a few years ago,” Notley said Thursday.

 “It is actually about the economic prosperity and security of Canadians from across this country.”

 Alberta’s United Conservative Party Opposition says the market campaign is too late. A spokeswoman from the party says merits of the project should have been promoted earlier.

The Federal Court of Appeal quashed Ottawa’s approval of the project in August on the basis of the NEB’s failure to fully examine the project’s effects on ocean ecosystem, including endangered killer whales.

It also found Canada failed to meaningfully consult with First Nations.


Ottawa Puts 22 Week Limit for Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion’s Future

Ottawa has given pipeline regulators 22 weeks to review the Trans Mountain expansion project on Friday morning after National Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said the National Energy Board will have 22 weeks to hear from Canadians.

Sohi announced the details of the government’s next steps during a news conference, calling it a “very important step forward.”

Sohi also emphasized that the project is an investment in Canada’s future, but clarified that “it must move forward in the right way.”

Last month, the Federal Court of Appeal quashed the approval of the pipeline project that would nearly triple the flow of oil from Alberta’s oilsands to the West Coast.

The court said that Canada’s efforts fell short in both consulting with indigenous people, as well as giving the environmental impact of increased tanker traffic off the coast of British Columbia more attention.

Sohi said the review will consider the impact of increased tanker traffic on the resident killer whale population.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the government is committed to building the pipeline the "right way" to satisfy the court's demands.


Three Affiliated Tribes Request Review of Pipelines Beneath Lake Sakakawea

An American Indian tribe in North Dakota on Wednesday asked a federal appeals court to expedite their decision on whether the construction of two pipelines underneath a Missouri River reservoir needs tribal permission.

The Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, also known as the Three Affiliated Tribes, say they own mineral rights under Lake Sakakawea and have not been assured that the water would not be negatively impacted by the Sacagawea pipeline project.

The 70-mile, $125-million Sacagawea oil pipeline is complete, according to pipeline developer Paradigm Energy Partners, but the company needs to complete the $16.6 million gas pipeline by the first of November and are experiencing difficulties due to the delays.

The tribes first brought the appeal to court last month requesting that the line be halted, but the U.S. district court judge temporarily allowed the pipeline developers to continue construction saying that it received the proper permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build the pipeline underneath the lake.

The pair of pipelines would run approximately 100 feet beneath Lake Sakakawea at the reservoir’s narrowest point and will use the “most environmentally responsible and safest method of river crossing,” according to the company’s project site.

Houston Chronicle
Sacagawea Pipeline Company, LLC

Enbridge: Northern Gateway Will Not Appeal Court Decision on Proposed Pipeline

Northern Gateway Pipeline Map (Northern Gateway)

Developers of the Northern Gateway pipeline said they will not appeal a federal court decision to overturn permits for the pipeline that would run to Canada’s pacific coast.

The Federal Court of Appeal ruled on June 30 that the National Energy Board’s previous approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline was acceptable on the condition that Enbridge seek further consultation with aboriginal groups.

“We believe that meaningful consultation and collaboration, and not litigation, is the best path forward for everyone involved. We look forward to working with the government and Aboriginal communities in the renewed consultation process,” said John Carruthers, President of the Northern Gateway project at Enbridge, in a statement.

The Northern Gateway pipeline would run approximately 1,177 kilometers (731 miles) carrying crude oil and blended bitumen from Bruderheim, Alberta to Kitimat, British Columbia.

Northern Gateway

Canadian Court Overturns Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Approval

The Supreme Court of Canada building. By Saffron Blaze (Own work) [Resolution restricted-by-sa (undefined)], via Wikimedia Commons

Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline is delayed once again as Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal overturned the approval of the project that is facing much opposition from environmentalists and aboriginal groups.

The Canadian court released its decision on Thursday, saying that the government did not properly consult with aboriginal groups about the pipeline project. The proposal has now been sent back to Prime Minister Trudeau’s cabinet for “prompt redetermination.”

The government said in a statement Thursday that it will review the ruling of the project before taking next steps and reaffirmed its promise to build a “nation-to-nation” relationship with the aboriginal groups.

Enbridge is still committed to the $6.1 billion (C$7.9 billion) Northern Gateway pipeline that would run 730 miles (1,177 km) and transport Alberta oil to the Pacific coast for shipment to Asia. The project was first proposed a decade ago and was endorsed by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper back in 2014. It is the only major proposed domestic pipeline to have won federal government approval.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet must tackle the decision on whether or not to renew the pipeline project--a decision that has the potential to either anger the pipeline’s opponents or upset the oil industry in Alberta.