A Vancouver-based environment charity is readying itself to go back to court if — or they believe when — the federal government reapproves the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion next year. Pipes are seen at the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain facility in Edmonton, Thursday, April 6, 2017. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

B.C. legislation only applies to Trans Mountain, pipeline proponent argues

B.C. argues the proposed rules are not intended to block the project, but protect the environment

Environmental legislation proposed by British Columbia is targeting the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and would significantly impact it, says the proponent of the project.

Maureen Killoran, a lawyer for Trans Mountain ULC, is asking the B.C. Court of Appeal to reject proposed amendments to the province’s Environmental Management Act that would create a permitting system for heavy oil transporters.

B.C. has argued the proposed rules are not intended to block the project but instead aim to protect its environment from spills and would require companies to pay for any damages, but Killoran disagreed.

“Trans Mountain will be directly and significantly impacted by the proposed legislation. Indeed, we say it is the target of the proposed legislation,” she told a panel of five judges on Thursday.

Killoran said Trans Mountain, which has operated since 1953, is the only pipeline that transports liquid petroleum to the West Coast and the only pipeline to which the legislation would apply.

The proposed law presented more risk than private-sector proponent Kinder Morgan was willing to accept, prompting it to sell the pipeline and related assets to Canada for $4.5 billion last year, she said.

Since the expansion project was first officially proposed in 2013, Killoran said it has been through the largest review in the National Energy Board’s history, a number of court challenges and faced protesters and blockades in B.C.

READ MORE: Canada says B.C. trying to impede Trans Mountain with pipeline legislation

The energy board ruled the expansion, which would triple the capacity of the pipeline, is in the Canadian public interest because the country cannot get all its available energy resources to Pacific markets including Asia, she said.

First Nations, the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby, and environmental group Ecojustice have delivered arguments in support of B.C.’s proposed rules, in part because of concerns about the local impacts of possible spills.

Killoran said the energy board recognized that there is a wealth of evidence about the fate and behaviour of diluted bitumen and there is further research underway.

The board also disputed the views of project opponents including Vancouver that the company hadn’t provided enough information about disaster-response plans, and recognized that spill prevention was a part of pipeline design, she said.

The Appeal Court is hearing a reference case filed by B.C. that asks whether the province has the authority to enact the amendments. Canada opposes the amendments because it says Ottawa — not provinces — has exclusive jurisdiction over inter-provincial infrastructure.

The Trans Mountain pipeline runs from the Edmonton area to Metro Vancouver and the expansion would increase the number of tankers in Burrard Inlet seven-fold.

B.C.’s proposed permitting system would require companies that want to increase the amount of heavy oil they’re transporting through the province to apply for a permit. Companies would have to meet conditions, including but not limited to providing disaster response plans and agreeing to pay for accident cleanup.

Joseph Arvay, a lawyer representing B.C., has argued that if a project proponent finds a condition too onerous, it can appeal to the independent Environmental Appeal Board or, in the case of Trans Mountain, to the National Energy Board.

But Killoran said Thursday that the energy board only created the special process for Trans Mountain after the company asked for it, and the province opposed it.

“While Mr. Arvay talks about it being an efficient route to solve problems, it was not ideal and it was not a route that Trans Mountain felt it should have to take. It was one that it felt it ought to take given the amount of opposition it had received.”

Laura Kane, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Port Alberni RCMP identify suspect in locker room thefts

Multiple complaints came in about thefts from Echo Centre lockers

Logging truck accident briefly closes Franklin River Road near Port Alberni

A single vehicle rollover involving a logging truck temporarily closed Franklin River… Continue reading

Sports shorts: camps for kids, BC lawn bowling finals in Port Alberni

Lawn bowling BCs Port Alberni Lawn Bowling Club will host the provincial… Continue reading

Set wizards make it happen at Mainstage Festival in Port Alberni

Eight plays in eight nights means turnover timelines are tight

Diary of Anne Frank, Cherry Docs dominate Mainstage 2019 awards

Annual theatre competition wraps up in Port Alberni

Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman sentenced to life in prison

Experts say he will likely wind up at the federal government’s Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Chinook retention begins on North Island, but amid new size limit

DFO calls measures ‘difficult but necessary’ following rockslide on Fraser River

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Injured humpback returns to waters near Comox a year later

Photographer spotted Ocular near Comox again and noticed the whale has been healing

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

Most Read