The Canadian Federal Court of Appeal agreed Wednesday to hear cases from six indigenous tribes for overturning the second set of regulatory approvals for the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion.
The approvals came from the federal cabinet and the Canadian Energy Regulator (CER), formerly the National Energy Board. The project would triple capacity to 890,000 b/d on the oilsands conduit from Alberta to the southern Pacific coast of British Columbia.
Justice David Stratas ruled that the appeal proceedings would focus tightly on a rights issue: “Was the consultation with Indigenous Peoples and First Nations adequate to address the shortcomings in the earlier consultation process?”
Stratas also committed the court to set a brisk pace as there is “substantial public interest in having the upcoming proceedings decided very quickly one way or the other.”
Trans Mountain construction and detailed route hearings with landowners are resuming after the CER and cabinet granted approvals that followed reconsideration reviews and tribal consultations required by an August 2018 verdict from Stratas’s court.
The judge dismissed six other requests for leave to appeal on broader grounds against the Trans Mountain approvals -- two from indigenous tribes, three from environmental groups and one from the City of Vancouver.
The C$9 billion ($6.8 billion) Trans Mountain project continues to arouse protest by opponents and native tribes for its role as a source of tanker traffic and growth for Canada’s top natural gas user, Alberta thermal oilsands production.