B.C.’s minority NDP government has unveiled its plan for opposing the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion through the province.
In a press conference Thursday, Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister George Heyman and Attorney General David Eby outlined legal and constitutional steps the government will take action on.
“Our government made it clear that a seven-fold increase in heavy oil tankers in the Vancouver harbour is not in B.C.’s best interests,” said Heyman.
“Not for our economy, our environment, or thousands of existing jobs. We will use all available tools to protect our coastal waters and our province’s future.”
The province has also secured the services of outside counsel Thomas Berger in relation to legal action pertaining to the pipeline.
“We are committed to fighting for B.C.’s interests and it is government’s desire to seek intervenor status in legal challenges to federal approval of the pipeline expansion and increased oil tanker traffic off B.C.’s coast,” said Eby.
“Mr. Berger will provide legal advice to government on the options for participation in legal challenges, and those hearings are scheduled to begin in federal court later this fall.”
The government also announced plans for what it calls “meaningful consultation” with Indigenous people concerning the pipeline expansion.
This includes potential impacts on Aboriginal rights and title, a responsibility identified in a number of court cases.
Green Party leader Andrew Weaver says he is pleased with Thursday’s announcement.
Weaver says using every tool available to stop the project is a key commitment in the agreement between the Green and NDP parties.
“In the B.C. Green caucus’ view the National Energy Board process that led to this project’s approval was profoundly flawed. Numerous questions remain unanswered or were simply dismissed,” said Weaver.
“To cite one example, the entire marine spill response was predicated on the existence of 20 hours of sunlight. There is no place south of Tuktoyaktuk that has that much sunlight on any day of the year.”
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