British Columbia

Non-profit drops Trans Mountain pipeline lawsuit, saying a loss could bankrupt them

Democracy Watch filed the documents early this year

CBC News

November 09, 2017

A kayaker paddles past the Kinder Morgan yard in Burrard Inlet in North Vancouver, B.C. on May 3, 2012. Democracy Watch, a non-profit group, has abandoned a legal challenge of the Trans Mountain pipeline project, saying losing the case could bankrupt the organization. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

A non-profit group has abandoned a legal challenge of the Trans Mountain pipeline project in British Columbia, saying losing the case could bankrupt the organization.

Duff Conacher of Democracy Watch says the advocacy group decided to withdraw its legal action after the B.C. Supreme Court judge assigned to the case suggested from the bench the premier was not responsible for the decision to grant environmental approval to Kinder Morgan's pipeline expansion.

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The original court action alleges that the decision to sanction the $6.8-billion project was "tainted'' by political donations made by its proponents to former premier Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberal party.

Democracy Watch and PIPE UP Network filed the documents early this year.

Aline LaFlamme, who is Metis, sings and plays a drum during a rally outside Federal Court against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion on Oct. 2, 2017. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Conacher says many of the proponents had applied to intervene in the case and if the government won, they would have asked Democracy Watch to pay legal costs amounting to tens of thousands of dollars.

The petition is one of numerous legal challenges aimed at blocking construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline between the Edmonton area and Burnaby, B.C.

The pipeline expansion would nearly triple the line's capacity and increase tanker traffic sevenfold along B.C.'s southern coast.

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