The oil tanker Everest Spirit in Vancouver harbour. Around 60 tankers a year already carry crude oil for export from the Kinder Morgan terminal in North Burnaby.

Second court challenge targets NEB pipeline hearings

Opponents to argue Kinder Morgan review denies freedom of expression

A second court challenge is being threatened by opponents of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion.

They’ve filed a notice of motion to the National Energy Board arguing its restricted review of the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline twinning unfairly limits public participation and violates their constitutional right to freedom of expression.

It’s expected to be the first move ahead of the filing of a constitutional challenge in the Federal Court of Canada.

The action is led by environmental group ForestEthics and supported by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

Plaintiffs include residents of Burnaby, Surrey, Vancouver and Abbotsford who live near Kinder Morgan facilities or the oil tanker route and whose participation in next year’s NEB hearings was either rejected or limited.

A 2012 change in federal law passed by the Conservative government capped the time the NEB can spend reviewing future pipeline projects and limited the topics participants can address.

It bars discussion of the impacts of exploiting Alberta’s oil sands, as well as climate change impacts from burning the oil overseas.

“The NEB has interpreted this new legislation as giving it the mandate to almost completely frustrate the public’s right to effectively participate in its hearings,” said David Martin, lawyer for the applicants.

“This legal challenge will fight for the public’s right to express itself and to be heard.”

He said a full public hearing on risks and benefits is vital because the new pipeline will have a “fundamental impact” on Vancouver, B.C. and Canada “for the rest of this century and beyond.”

Many critics who sought intervenor status have been denied a role in oral hearings and have instead been limited to written comment.

The $5.4-billion project would twin the 60-year-old oil pipeline that runs from northern Alberta to Burnaby, nearly tripling capacity to 890,000 barrels per day. The second 1,150-kilometre line would carry mainly diluted bitumen for export to Asia.

The North Vancouver-based Tsleil-Waututh First Nation is also going to Federal Court to argue they weren’t adequately consulted on the project’s environmental assessment or the NEB review.

Meanwhile, Kinder Morgan went on the defensive this week over wording in its project application that appeared to suggest spills bring economic benefits.

“Spill response and clean-up creates business and employment opportunities for affected communities, regions, and clean-up service providers,” the 15,000-page document stated, leading to national media coverage this week.

Kinder Morgan Canada president Ian Anderson said the statement was taken out of context from a section that examined in detail the effects of a worst-case spill.

“We all know that at the end of the day the total effect of a spill is negative and every effort must be expended to prevent such a thing from happening,” Anderson said in a statement.

He said spills aren’t part of the analysis of economic benefits the project would bring.

“No spill is acceptable to me anywhere, anytime, for any reason. Spills are not good for anyone. Period.”

– with files from Wanda Chow

Just Posted

Streets of Chilliwack to come alive with classic cars, summer parties

Fortin’s Village Classic Car Show and Party in the Park draw tens of thousands to downtown Chilliwack

Seven Days in Chilliwack

A list of community events happening in Chilliwack from June 17 to 23

Chilliwack’s Secondary Characters celebrate a decade of drama with cabaret

Secondary Characters 10th annual Confectioner’s Cabaret features desserts, performing arts

National Indigenous Peoples Day in Chilliwack has two events

One event is at Tzeachten Field and the other at the Sto:lo Resource Centre

UPDATE: Two-year-old involved in Chilliwack pool drowning has died

Toddler was reported to not be breathing as air ambulance called out Thursday afternoon

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

Metro Vancouver’s air quality could be the worst yet this wildfire season

As wildfire season approached, Metro Vancouver experts predict the air will be an issue for many

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Update: Multiple fires along the railway tracks in Pitt Meadows

CP rail has closed tracks while firefighters work

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

B.C.’s measles vaccination program gains traction in May

More than 15,000 doses of the MMR vaccine has been administered across the province

B.C. farmers concerned Agricultural Land Reserve changes choking their livelihood

Dozens voice concerns at special meeting hosted on Vancouver Island

B.C. high school withdraws notices for temporary dress code

Parents previously told the Interior News they felt there was inadequate consultation over the rules

VIDEO: Toronto Raptors announcer credited with calming crowds after shooting

Matt Devlin, the Raptors’ play-by-play announcer since 2008, was praised for preventing panic from spreading

Most Read