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

Freshet of 2018 evokes memories of the flood of 1948

And while the devastation of 70 years ago informs flood protection now, similar event not predicted

Chilliwack Chiefs prove doubters wrong with RBC Cup triumph

The Chiefs played with a chip on their shoulders, claiming their 1st-ever national junior A title.

Chilliwack Chiefs make history with first RBC Cup win

In front of a huge and noisy crowd, the Chiefs claimed their first-ever national junior A title.

Rising river prompts road closure in Chilliwack

Fraser expected to continue rise on Monday

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Arrest made in last week’s double shooting in East Van

Carleton Stevens, 37, is charged with attempted murder and remains in custody

Couple survives being buried in mudslide on B.C. highway

The couple, from Saskatchewan, were en route to Nelson when a tree fell in their path

‘So grateful:’ Injured Bronco hockey player glad he’s alive, works on recovery

Ryan Straschnitzki was badly hurt in the accident: a spinal injury, broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and punctured lung

PHOTOS: Floodwaters rise and fall in Grand Forks

The flood-ravaged Kootenay-Boundary region begins to heal

Martin Mars waterbombers’ firefighting days are done

Wayne Coulson said his company still hopes to find a new home for the vintage aircraft

NHL playoffs weekly roundup

Vegas Golden Knights have done the impossible and have a chance at hoisting the Stanley Cup

Changes needed for ‘Alert Ready’ mass emergency system

‘You need to strike this careful balance between alerting people to lots of problems — and doing it too often’

Las Vegas Golden Knights move on to Stanley Cup final

Improbable run continues for NHL’s newest expansion team

Most Read