Canada’s top court rejects TMX appeals
for Petroleum News
The Supreme Court of Canada delivered another knockback to opponents of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, TMX, but it was short of a knockout as the activists promised they will get back on their feet.
The court refused earlier in March to hear challenges from two British Columbia First Nations (Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh), the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, British Columbia Nature and coalition of youth climate activists argued a previous re-approval of TMX by the Canadian government was unfairly denied by a single judge on the Federal Court of Appeal.
One of the primary challenges was targeted at the threat posed by increased tanker traffic out of Vancouver to endangered southern resident killer whales.
The Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal and, as is custom, did not provide reasons for its decision.
The federal appeal court chose last September to take up six of 12 original appeals against TMX.
“What the applicants are looking for is just that the laws of Canada be applied,” said attorney Eugene Kung, who was not named in the appeal. “Obviously, this pipeline has become a political issue as much as a legal or economic issue.”
Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage said the Supreme Court decision “clears the way” for TMX to be finished.
But the opponents, many of whom were involved in the protracted blockade of Canada’s rail systems in February, say another legal challenge, mass protests, civil disobedience and efforts to force a re-rerouting of the pipeline could cause further delays to the C$12.6 billion project.
“Most of that money has yet to be spent so there’s still a chance for the federal government (which owns Trans Mountain) to put that money to better use,” said Sven Biggs, a climate and energy campaigner.
For now, the government has given no indication that it will shelve TMX during the economic downturn and COVID-19 crisis.
- GARY PARK