It’s a huge blow to the proponent of a pipeline that would link Alberta’s oilsands to B.C.’s north coast.
The Federal Court of Appeal has overturned the federal government’s approval of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline.
Vancouver lawyer Elin Sigurdson says First Nations, environmental groups and a labour union launched the challenge.
The court ruled Canada failed to provide meaningful consultation with First Nations.
“Meaningful consultation isn’t just coming to a meeting. Canada did have a meeting with some of the First Nations after the initial report was issued on the Northern Gateway Pipeline project. But when it did that, it didn’t fill in any information gaps.”
The feds gave approval to the project after the National Energy Board gave the thumbs up – subject to more than 200 conditions.
In response, Enbridge says its working with its aboriginal and commercial partners to determine next steps.
The company says “proponents are fully committed to building this critical Canadian infrastructure project.”
First Nations celebrate
The head of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs is says today’s decision proves what First Nations have been saying all along.
“It was a very long and epic battle between First Nations people and the government of Canada, provincial government and big oil.”
Phillip says the judge was right to rule Canada failed to properly consult with First Nations.
“With respect to the environment, with respect to the rivers and streams, and tanker traffic along the North coast, many of these issues were not even seriously contemplated.”
Philip says the environmental review process needs to be completely dismantled and rebuilt from scratch.
Peter Lantin, President of the Haida First Nation agrees, and says the project should be scrapped for good.
“A lot of people are spending an unbelievable amount of time and resources on this. I think the right thing to do is to reject the project and stop the culture of waiting people’s time and money.”
“I think trying to put Band-Aids on a process and trying to keep it on a track doesn’t make any sense for us. It’s too broken. It’s too far gone. Especially with what has been proposed here which is a re-determination by the governor and council, is that this is now a different government.”
Lantin says more than $600,000 was raised to fight Enbridge through a crowdfunding campaign.