Multiple legal challenges aimed at overturning the federal government’s approval of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline are set to be heard in Vancouver starting Thursday.
They are expected to put the environmental approval process and the company’s responsibility to consult with First Nations into the spotlight.
EcoJustice lawyer Karen Campbell,
“Overall, the First Nations, the environmental organizations, and the unions are seeking to have this approval quashed, they do not want to see this pipeline happen”,
She says the consolidation of this many court cases is unprecedented.
“In the modern history of the Federal Court of Appeal, they have never actually had a hearing this long. The longest hearing they have ever had is four days, and this one is going to be six days.”
Speaking for Northern Gateway, Ivan Giesbrecht said the company recognizes traditional aboriginal land use rights and believes First Nations should share in ownership and benefits.
“Our ongoing priority is to continue to build trust, engage in respectful dialogues and build meaningful partnerships with First Nations and Metis communities”.
“We know we have more work to do in this regard and we are committed to doing this work.”
Giesbrecht said the Joint Review Panel’s examination of the Northern Gateway project was among the most exhaustive in Canadian history, spanning 180 days of hearings.
The $7-billion project would carry bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands to B.C.’s coast.