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Supreme Court won't allow First Nations' appeal of Trans Mountain pipeline approval

Last Updated Jul 2, 2020 at 12:01 pm MDT


Supreme Court of Canada dismissed a request for an appeal from B.C. First Nations fighting Trans Mountain approval

Court's ruling effectively ends challenge from group of First Nations of cabinet's second approval of the expansion

Expansion will nearly triple amount of diluted bitumen carried by pipeline from Alberta oils sands to Burnaby

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – It appears to be the end of the road for several B.C. First Nations fighting the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The Supreme Court of Canada is not going to hear an appeal of Ottawa’s second approval of the project.

The court dismissed on Thursday the request for an appeal brought forward by the Coldwater Indian Band, Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation, and the Ts’elxweyeqw Tribes, effectively bringing a years-long battle over the pipeline expansion to an end.

In 2018, The Federal Court of Appeal overturned cabinet’s first approval of the pipeline expansion, citing insufficient consultation with Indigenous people and a failure to take into account the effect on marine animals. That forced the federal government to go back to the table.

The expansion would nearly triple the amount of diluted bitumen carried by the Trans Mountain pipeline between Alberta’s oil sands and the Burrard Inlet.

The Trans Mountain pipeline project was first approved in 2016.

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In March, members of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation vowed to continue their fight against the controversial pipeline despite a Supreme Court decision that month, refusing to hear yet another appear from several First Nations and environmental groups opposing the expansion.

“We are disappointed in this result, but our opposition remains unchanged. We will be appealing the consultation case to the Supreme Court of Canada. This isn’t over by a long shot,” Tsleil-Waututh Chief Leah Sisi-ya-ama George-Wilson said in March.

Canada’s top court’s decision came almost exactly a month after the Federal Court of Appeal upheld the government’s second approval of the expansion project. In that case, First Nations groups had argued in December the government went into consultations with Indigenous communities a year prior having predetermined the outcome in favour of the expansion.

The Tsleil-Waututh Nation has called out the federal government for its “failure to apply the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act” of 2012, as well as the Species at Risk Act, adding by not doing so, Canada “will put the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales at greater risk of extinction.”

The Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish Nations are expected to speak at 9:00 a.m.