Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion approved by Canadian Court despite indigenous peoples challenge

“Canada has bulldozered a pathway forward on this unsustainable project that is in no way honorable, in the interest of the public, or aligned with its commitment to implement federal legislation on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

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The Federal Court of Appeals in Canada rejected claims of the First Nations tribes permitting the expansion of the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline. 

According to EcoWatch, the expansion will triple the amount of oil flowing from the Alberta tar sands to the Pacific coast in British Columbia. The pipeline currently carries roughly 300,000 barrels of petroleum products daily through Alberta and British Columbia in Canada and Washington state in the U.S.

Climate and Indigenous activists claim they will continue to fight even after this recent decision was made. “We always said that we’d do what it takes to stop this pipeline. This government is incapable of making sound decisions for our future generations—so we are and we will. Even for their children,” says Rueben George, speaking on behalf of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.

During the case, the Federal Appeals court heard from four different parties in the case: the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations, the Coldwater Indian Band, and a coalition of smaller indigenous nations from the British Columbia interior. The groups claim the government is not taking the environment into consideration.  

“The evidentiary record shows a genuine effort in ascertaining and taking into account the key concerns of the applicants, considering them, engaging in two-way communication, and considering and sometimes agreeing to accommodations. It is true that the applicants are of the view that their concerns have not been fully met, but to insist on that happening is to impose a standard of perfection, a standard not required by law,” the court said. 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had promised to commit to battling the climate crisis, but a move such as this one and the purchase of the pipeline from Kinder Morgan in 2018 shows otherwise. 

“We are saddened that Canada and B.C. continue to rally around the TMX—it represents an environmental liability that we simply cannot afford in the age of climate emergency. Canada has bulldozered a pathway forward on this unsustainable project that is in no way honorable, in the interest of the public, or aligned with its commitment to implement federal legislation on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” says Chief Don Tom. 

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