B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman and Attorney General David Eby (Black Press)

Last-ditch pipeline court challenge going ahead

Reference case to B.C. Court of Appeal by the end of April

The B.C. NDP government is playing its last cards in an effort to have a say in the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, bringing a reference case to the B.C. Court of Appeal by April 30.

Environment Minister George Heyman and Attorney General David Eby provided no detail on the reference as they headed into a cabinet meeting Wednesday morning. In general it is to determine what authority the province has to regulate the twinning of the pipeline that has pitted B.C. against the Alberta and federal governments.

Heyman declined to say whether the reference would be a proposed set of provincial regulations or questions to the court about the extent of B.C.’s jurisdiction. His proposal in January to create new regulations to restrict the transport of diluted bitumen sparked a furious response from Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, who briefly ordered a ban on wine shipments into B.C.

RELATED: Poll finds 54% of B.C. residents support Trans Mountain

Eby said the B.C. Court of Appeal is the highest court in the province, but he could not say how long it would take to get a ruling.

The move comes after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Notley and B.C. Premier John Horgan Sunday. Trudeau emerged from that meeting saying his government is preparing new financial and legal measures to make sure the $7.4 billion pipeline twinning goes ahead.

With options running out and 14 previous court challenges to Trans Mountain having been rejected by courts, Heyman began anticipating the possibility that the reference case would also fail.

“We’re determined, particularly if the Court of Appeal question is lost and the project is going ahead, to ensure that we exercise every inch of our constitutional jurisdiction to ensure that we’re regulating against the possibility of a spill,” Heyman said. “And to ensure that in the completely event of a spill, that we’re doing everything possible to protect B.C. by having the regulations in place to ensure adequate response, adequate recovery.”

The federal government has announced increased spill prevention and response resources on all of Canada’s coastlines, including spill bases at Sidney, Beecher Bay, Ucluelet, Nanaimo, Richmond and Port Alberni.

RELATED: New spill response bases on hold as pipeline paused

But when Trans Mountain owner Kinder Morgan announced April 8 it was halting non-essential work on the pipeline project, Western Canada Marine Response Corp. said it was also halting capital spending on the new spill capacity.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

“Huge disappointment” as BCVT learns Northern Sea Wolf will not sail this summer

The Nimpkish is arrriving near-empty as frustrated travelers can’t get to Bella Bella for transfer

Protection order issued after Bella Coola bear attack

Fruit trees to be removed after sow grizzly defended cubs and sent man to hospital

Bella Coola enjoys 33rd Annual Valley Ridge Riders Rodeo

Sunny skies on Monday added a welcome touch to an otherwise damp weekend

First Nation pipeline protesters erect ‘tiny homes’ in B.C. Park

Kanahus Manuel and Tiny House Warriors say more homes being constructed in park

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Crews battle fire northeast of Terrace

The 10-hectare fire was discovered Saturday

Northern B.C. cadet goes from English Channel to BC Summer Games

Amber Ly is taking her experience aboard the tall ship Royalist with to Cowichan July 19-22

Intertidal Music Festival back for round two

More than 20 performances throughout the day at the North Pacific Cannery on July 21

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Most Read