City of Vancouver challenges Trans Mountain pipeline in B.C. Supreme Court
The city is asking the court to review B.C.'s environmental assessment certificate for Kinder Morgan
The City of Vancouver was in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday to challenge the environmental assessment certificate issued to Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project by the previous provincial government.
The City is seeking a judicial review of that certificate, which gave the energy company the green light to pursue the twinning of their current oil pipeline, running from Edmonton to Burnaby.
Back in February, Vancouver city council passed a motion to challenge the environmental permit, arguing that there has not been "any modelling of the effects of a bitumen spill in Vancouver's marine environment — making it impossible to develop a 'world-leading' oil spill response strategy."
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Before the court Monday, the city's lawyer, Susan Horne, presented key arguments, including the confidential nature of Kinder Morgan's spill response plan, an estimated five-fold increase in tanker traffic in Burrard Inlet if the project is approved, and what she argued was the high likelihood of a spill.
"The challenges are there; the issue is how is Trans Mountain going to respond to them," Horne said.
The $7.4 billion expansion has already been approved by the National Energy Board, which attached 157 conditions that Kinder Morgan must abide by. The provincial approval was accompanied by 37 additional conditions.
Coun. Adriane Carr spoke at a rally outside the Vancouver court to support the city's case.
"My hope is that there will be a review of that certificate, and that environmental assessment certificate review will lead to the conclusion that it was inadequately processed," Carr said.
"If we have this delay, if there has to be a review of the certificate issued by the court judgment, that's a good way to kill it."
Carr said the assessment lacked significant consultation with the public and First Nations, and required more scientific analysis into the impacts of the project.
The review is expected to take three days.
If the city is unsuccessful, Carr said she will engage in civil disobedience to stop the expansion, which once complete is expected to transport 890,000 barrels of oil per day.
The cities of Vancouver and Burnaby, two environmental groups, and seven First Nations were in the Federal Court of Appeal in Vancouver earlier this month challenging the federal government's approval of the pipeline project.