British Columbia’s court of appeal ruled on September 17th that Trans Mountain pipeline’s environmental approval by British Columbia must return to the provincial government for reconsideration as a result of changes in conditions that led to the approval certificate being granted.
Justice Mary Saunders, writing the unanimous decision, said, “I would not quash the certificate but would remit the matter to the ministers to permit them to reconsider the certificate’s conditions.”
According to the Justice, conditions have changed in the wake of the Federal Court of Canada’s decision in Tsleil-Waututh Nation v. Canada quashing the federal approval of the project by the National Energy Board and the federal cabinet.
The Canadian government re-approved the $7.4 billion pipeline in June after purchasing it from Kinder Morgan in early 2018 for $4.5 billion.
In January 2017, British Columbia’s Liberal government issued a 37-condition environmental assessment certificate for the project. The government did so relying on a so-called equivalency agreement with the NEB that could stand in for a provincial assessment in the interests of efficiency.
That approval had adopted conditions recommended in the NEB report on the project. It is the conditions that the court of appeal has remitted to the Environmental Assessment Office for review.