Three First Nations have announced they're taking legal action challenging the federal government's approval of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

Representatives from the Coldwater Indian Band near Merritt, along with the Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish Nation held a joint news conference in Vancouver.

Lee Spahan

"It is our Standing Rock," said Coldwater Indian Band chief Lee Spahan, He worries that a rupture of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which runs through the Coldwater Reserve, would be catastrophic to his nation's drinking water supply. (David Horemans/CBC)

"It is our Standing Rock," said Coldwater Indian Band Chief Lee Spahan. "It is about our drinking water."  

"The existing Kinder Morgan pipeline was built through our reserve and above our aquifer at a time when it was illegal for us to vote or hire a lawyer ...The Crown's decision to put our drinking water at profoundly troubling," he said.

Squamish Chief Ian Campbell said his nation's challenge will hinge on a lack of procedural fairness and a lack of meaningful consultation.  

"We talk about an era of reconciliation but we do not see the actions that go with that," said Campbell. "The old status quo will no longer be acceptable — that of a colonial imposition to ride roughshod over Aboriginal rights and title within our own lands and waters."

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Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion Project's Westeridge loading dock is seen in Burnaby, B.C., on Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

"We do not consent to the Kinder Morgan pipeline project in our territory. We are asking the court to overturn the federal cabinet's decision to approve this project," said Tsleil-Waututh Chief Maureen Thomas in a release.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet approved the Kinder Morgan expansion project Nov. 29, 2016.

Last week the B.C. government approved the project after reaching an agreement with Kinder Morgan for up to $1 billion in investment over 20 years. 

The pipeline expansion project will triple the amount of oil and oil products, including bitumen, in the 1,150-kilometre-long pipeline that runs from the oil sands near Edmonton to the Kinder Morgan terminal in Burnaby.

Oil tanker traffic in Burrard Inlet and surrounding B.C. waters will increase seven-fold when the pipeline is complete.

trans mountain pipeline

Kinder Morgan's $6.8-billion, 1,150-kilometre Trans Mountain pipeline will move a mix of oil products from Edmonton to a terminal in Burnaby, B.C., near Vancouver, where it will be exported to markets in Asia.