VICTORIA – The City of Vancouver and Squamish Nation have lost legal challenges aimed at quashing an environmental assessment certificate issued by the British Columbia government for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
The B.C. Supreme Court issued separate written judgments today in the cases.
The previous B.C. Liberal government issued the certificate in January 2017, about two months after the federal government gave the project the green light.
The city argued the province failed to engage in proper public consultation or take into account relevant environmental considerations in seeking an order to set aside the certificate.
But Justice Christopher Grauer ruled the province’s decision to issue the certificate was reasonable as he dismissed the petition and ordered the city to pay costs to Trans Mountain, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan Canada.
He also found the province conducted appropriate and sufficient consultation with the First Nation.
The judge said in the city’s case, the B.C. government took a “very limited position and made no submissions on the merits of the judicial review.”
The province’s NDP government opposes the pipeline. Premier John Horgan said his government reviewed the litigation after it took power last summer and received legal advice that it had a responsibility to defend the integrity of the Crown.
“We found ourselves on the opposite side of Squamish and Vancouver,” he said.
Since the NDP came to power last summer, the provincial government has also joined a legal challenge of the federal approval of the pipeline expansion, which was heard by the Federal Court of Appeal last fall. A decision has not yet been released.