Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Is Back In Business After Court Ruling

The New Democratic Party of British Colombia was met with a loss last week as their campaign against the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion and attempt to gain power over the national enterprise was ruled against by the BC Court of Appeal. The court’s verdict instead gave control to the province when it comes to oil deliveries throughout the plan of the expansion. 

British Colombia Premier John Horgan is determined to continue with the fight against the TMX which could take legal matters to the Supreme Court of Canada. However, federal cabinet approval for the plan’s continuation is scheduled for June 18.

Last year, following environmental, native and British Colombia government protests, the pipeline expansion was halted and Kinder Morgan Canada sold Trans Mountain for $4.5 billion to the liberal government in Ottawa. The expansion, running from Alberta to Vancouver (987 k), would be a benefit to Alberta’s thermal oilsands production, Canada’s top natural gas user and Trans Mountain’s capacity would almost triple to 890,000 b/d. The court’s recent verdict claimed the North Democratic Party’s opposition as “an immediate and existential threat to a federal undertaking that is being expanded specifically to increase the amount of oil being transported through BC.” 

Justice Mary Newbury stated, “it is simply not practical — or appropriate in terms of constitutional law — for different laws and regulation to apply to an interprovincial pipeline, or railway or communications infrastructure, every time it crosses a border.”  

Furthermore, she says, “there is in place a complex web of federal statuses and regulations that apply to all aspects of interprovincial pipelines, including environmental assessment, operational oversight, spill and accident responses, and financial liability and compensation for harm done by spills. The ‘polluter pays’ principle is clearly an important part of these laws.” 

And lastly, Newbury confirms that “the approval process is still continuing. The minimization of environmental harm associated with interprovincial undertakings is a key component of the federal matter."

NGI Shale Daily