Alberta pulls out of carbon tax initiative after pipeline ruling

02 September, 2018, 06:46 | Author: Lora Ball
  • Canadian court blocks controversial oil pipeline project | TheHill

The court ruling will halt construction of the 1,150km project, spearheaded by Texas-based Kinder Morgan, until the energy regulator and government can show they have complied with the court's demands - a process that could take years.

The Federal Court of Appeal wrote in its decision that the National Energy Board's review was so flawed that Ottawa couldn't rely on it as a basis for approving the expansion in 2016.

January 27, 2016: The federal Liberal government says pipeline projects such as the Trans Mountain expansion will now be assessed in part on the greenhouse gas emissions produced in the extraction and processing of the oil they carry.

In a unanimous decision released on Thursday, the federal court of appeal said the Liberal government - led by Justin Trudeau - failed to adequately consider the concerns of some First Nations regarding the Trans Mountain expansion project.

The court combined into one case almost two dozen lawsuits calling for the energy board's review to be overturned.

Earlier this year, in an escalating dispute with the B.C. government over Trans Mountain, Notley's government passed sweeping legislation allowing it to intervene in the marketplace and restrict oil flows if necessary to maximize prices while also sending a sharp message to Canadian regions reliant on Alberta's oil. The special assembly in Calgary lasted three minutes and resulted in 99 per cent of shareholders balloting in favour of the deal to sell the pipeline system to Ottawa for $four.5 billion.Kathleen Lang, a Kinder Morgan Canada shareholder who attended the assembly and voted in favour of the sale acknowledged she believes Trans Mountain is well-known for the Canadian financial system.

"This decision reinforces our belief that the Trans Mountain expansion project must not proceed and we tell the prime minister to start listening and put an end to this type of relationship".

The ruling is a major victory for Indigenous groups and environmentalists opposed to the $7.4-billion project.

August 10, 2017: The B.C. NDP government hires former judge Thomas Berger to provide legal advice as it seeks intervener status in the legal challenges against the project filed by municipalities and First Nations. The Westridge Marine Terminal is built and commissioned in Burnaby, B.C.

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"This is a major victory for my community", said Coldwater Indian Band Chief Lee Spahan. First Nations have been protesting the pipeline expansion project, which would triple the amount of tar sands oil flowing from Alberta to British Columbia, for months.

The ruling is a clear indicator from an environmental perspective that "we have to do better", he said.

In May the government of Justin Trudeau agreed to buy the pipeline from Kinder Morgan Canada Limited for nearly $US3.5 billion ($NZ5.2b), betting it would win the court battle and expand Trans Mountain despite fierce political and environmental opposition.

Further delays will harm Canada's economy by limiting access to global markets, said Al Reid, executive vice-president of oil producer Cenovus Energy Inc, whose shares dropped 4.4 percent. "Going forward, we urge politicians and other project proponents to shift their focus away from projects that lock us into dependence on fossil fuels".

The environmental groups involved in the case cheered the ruling, with Ecojustice, the Living Oceans Society and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation calling it a "critical win" for the climate and coastal ecosystems.

"We're going to review today's decision to ensure that we're meeting high standards when it comes to both protecting the environment and meeting our obligations to consult with Indigenous Peoples", Morneau said, adding that the court has "given us some good directions on next steps".

With as few as 75 southern resident orcas left, the population will be unsustainable if the project proceeds, said Paul Paquet, senior scientist with the Raincoast Conservation Foundation. Canada has the option to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

In the wake of today's dramatic Federal Court of Appeal decision, we've prepared a sampling of that coverage to provide you with context and background.

January 17, 2018: Kinder Morgan Canada warns the Trans Mountain expansion project could be a year behind schedule.


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