Canada's Federal Court dismisses appeal by Indigenous people challenging Trans Mountain project's approval
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Ottawa, Feb 4 (Canadian-Media): An appeal by Indigenous groups challenging the federal government's approval of the Trans Mountain expansion project had been dismissed by the Federal Court of Canada thereby removing another major legal barrier for the long-delayed $7.4 billion project which would carry nearly a million barrels of Alberta oil per day to the B.C. coast, media report said.
Trans Mountain Pipeline. Image credit: Twitter handle
Keeping with the norms of the consultation process, 60 Crown representatives had been sent by Ottawa o meet with 120 Indigenous communities in both Alberta and B.C.
The team gathered thousands of submissions and imposed additional conditions on the project.
"Canada must act in good faith, but at the same time accommodation cannot be dictated by Indigenous groups," said the court which found that only a small number of Indigenous communities are actually opposed to Trans Mountain's construction.
The court found out that of the 129 Indigenous groups potentially affected by the project, 120 either support it or do not oppose it, and only 43 Indigenous groups have opposed it.
The court also said that the flaws identified in its previous ruling were adequately addressed and consulted.
"The evidentiary record shows a genuine effort in ascertaining and taking into account the key concerns of the applicants," the court said.
For example, the Coldwater Indian Band's concerns about the project's potential impact on the aquifer, source of drinking water had been taken care of by Ottawa with a commitment to instal monitoring wells.
As for marine life concerns, the court said it found that a number of programs had been developed by Ottawa to address spill risks including the Salish Sea Initiative, the Co-Developing Community Response program, and the Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness program to address spill risks.
60 days have been given to the six Indigenous groups that launched this legal challenge to appeal the Federal Court of Appeal's decision to the Supreme Court.