Canadian court shoots down Trans Mountain challenges

Alberta's government sees a path forward for an oil pipeline that's sparked provincial disputes.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Canadian court shoots down Trans Mountain challenges
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says court rulings against challenges to the Trans Mountain oil pipeline chart a clear path forward. Photo courtesy of the premier's office.

May 25 (UPI) -- The expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline will proceed because of its record of resilience in the courts, the premier of oil-rich Alberta said.

The highest court in British Columbia dismissed challenges filed by the City of Vancouver and aboriginal groups to Kinder Morgan's plans to expand the capacity of its Trans Mountain oil pipeline from Alberta to the western Canadian coast.


Vancouver challenged the issue, saying the provincial government "acted unreasonably" in procedural issues on environmental measures associated with the pipeline's construction.

"I found no lack of procedural fairness or absence of jurisdiction," Supreme Court Justice Christopher Grauer said in his ruling. "In these circumstances, the petition must be dismissed."

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Kinder Morgan has been relatively quiet about the spat over the project. In an April 18 financial statement, the company said judicial action was thwarting the timeline for Trans Mountain.

Without clarity on the path forward, and without sufficient protection for its shareholders, the company said it may have to shelve the project by the end of the month.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said the court rulings in British Columbia paved a clear path forward for the pipeline expansion project.

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"This pipeline is unlike any other in that it has been rigorously reviewed, meaningful consultation has taken place and it is paired with an effective climate protection plan," she said in a statement. "We will get this pipeline built."

A Kinder Morgan-led consortium planned to expand the Trans Mountain network to the western coast of Canada, tripling its design capacity to 890,000 barrels per day. That expansion has sparked provincial concerns about tanker traffic and the potential for spills.

Notley, for her part, said the Canadian economy needs access to foreign markets and without projects like Trans Mountain, the economy is out as much as $30 million (USD) per day. Her government has pledged financial support for the project.

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Vancouver's mayor had no comment on the court ruling.

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