City council set to vote on taking province to court over Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion

Vancouver councillor Adriane Carr has introduced a motion requesting a judicial review of the province's approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion.

Councillor Adriane Carr introduces motion to request judicial review of B.C.'s approval of the project

Vancouver residents rallied outside Vancouver CIty Hall on Feb. 8, 2016, in support of a motion requesting a judicial review of the province's approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

Vancouver city council is considering whether to take the provincial government to court over its approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project.

A motion introduced by city councilor Adriane Carr asks that the city request a judicial review of the provincial government's decision to give the project its environmental approval.

If it passes, the environmental permit issued by the province would be reviewed by a Supreme Court judge to ensure all conditions of approval have been met.

"If the City of Vancouver moves forward with a judicial review and if we win in court — which is my hope that we do —[the Kinder Morgan expansion pipeline] will require a new environmental assessment," said Carr.

Carr says the province failed to appropriately consult with the public, which, she says, goes against provincial law.

She also says the province hasn't done thorough studies on the potential damage of a bitumen spill on Vancouver's harbour and the B.C. coast.

"To the best of my knowledge, they have not done the things that must be done to create a yes or a no response regarding an environmental assessment."

Vision Vancouver councillor Andrea Reimer has seconded the motion.

A new assessment

The project would twin the existing 1,150-kilometre pipeline between Edmonton, Alta., and Burnaby, B.C., increasing its capacity from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day.

Vancouver city councillor Adrian Carr maintains the province didn't do its due diligence when authorizing an environmental permit for the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

The provincial government approved the twinned pipeline project last month after Premier Christy Clark said all five conditions for support had been met, which includes a spill response strategy and consultation with First Nations.

But Carr says the province didn't do its due diligence and instead deferred to the federal government's environmental approval, which includes 49 conditions imposed by the National Energy Board, rather than develop its own environmental assessment.

If the provincial government were ordered to launch its own environmental assessment of the project, Carr expects the project wouldn't get approved.

"If there is real and genuine consultations with First Nations and real and genuine consultation with the public and real and thorough technical reports that model what bitumen does ... if spilled in our oceans, I believe the outcome will be a No."

"No environmental permit, no building of the Kinder Morgan pipeline and, thus, a better future for all of us."

Council was scheduled to vote on the motion at its Feb. 8 regular meeting, but has since deferred it to its standing committee on policy and strategic priorities on Feb. 22, 2017.