B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman and Attorney General David Eby (Black Press)

Last-ditch pipeline court challenge going ahead

Reference case to B.C. Court of Appeal by the end of April

The B.C. NDP government is playing its last cards in an effort to have a say in the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, bringing a reference case to the B.C. Court of Appeal by April 30.

Environment Minister George Heyman and Attorney General David Eby provided no detail on the reference as they headed into a cabinet meeting Wednesday morning. In general it is to determine what authority the province has to regulate the twinning of the pipeline that has pitted B.C. against the Alberta and federal governments.

Heyman declined to say whether the reference would be a proposed set of provincial regulations or questions to the court about the extent of B.C.’s jurisdiction. His proposal in January to create new regulations to restrict the transport of diluted bitumen sparked a furious response from Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, who briefly ordered a ban on wine shipments into B.C.

RELATED: Poll finds 54% of B.C. residents support Trans Mountain

Eby said the B.C. Court of Appeal is the highest court in the province, but he could not say how long it would take to get a ruling.

The move comes after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Notley and B.C. Premier John Horgan Sunday. Trudeau emerged from that meeting saying his government is preparing new financial and legal measures to make sure the $7.4 billion pipeline twinning goes ahead.

With options running out and 14 previous court challenges to Trans Mountain having been rejected by courts, Heyman began anticipating the possibility that the reference case would also fail.

“We’re determined, particularly if the Court of Appeal question is lost and the project is going ahead, to ensure that we exercise every inch of our constitutional jurisdiction to ensure that we’re regulating against the possibility of a spill,” Heyman said. “And to ensure that in the completely event of a spill, that we’re doing everything possible to protect B.C. by having the regulations in place to ensure adequate response, adequate recovery.”

The federal government has announced increased spill prevention and response resources on all of Canada’s coastlines, including spill bases at Sidney, Beecher Bay, Ucluelet, Nanaimo, Richmond and Port Alberni.

RELATED: New spill response bases on hold as pipeline paused

But when Trans Mountain owner Kinder Morgan announced April 8 it was halting non-essential work on the pipeline project, Western Canada Marine Response Corp. said it was also halting capital spending on the new spill capacity.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Air quality advisory continues in the Lower Mainland

Smoke from Interior fires brings fine particulate

Blue bags are out for curbside recyling and blue bins are in

Use your own bin or the one the city gave you, but no more bags, please, except for shredding

Fraser Valley fire departments form ‘strike teams’ to combat wildfires

Boston Bar, Chilliwack River Valley and Popkum departments form strike teams to fight wildfires

RCMP nab prolific car thief in Agassiz after month-long search

A province-wide warrant was issued for Brian Robert Stephan in June for a litany of offences

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

VIDEO: Ground crews keep a close eye on largest B.C. wildfire

Originally estimated to be 79,192 hectares, officials said more accurate mapping shows smaller size

Vancouver Island woman to attempt historic swim across Juan de Fuca Strait today

Ultra-marathon swimmer Susan Simmons to attempt to swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back

Most Read