Judicial review of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline ends

By Mariane Gravelle October 17, 201717 October 2017

Judicial review of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline ends


The controversial Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project – also known as the Trans Mountain Pipeline system – moves one step forward. Federal Court of Appeal proceedings in its most recent judicial review came to a close last week,

leaving the parties awaiting a decision which could take several months to be issued.

A quick refresher

The Trans Mountain project is a proposed expansion of the existing Kinder Morgan pipeline running between Alberta and the west coast of British Columbia. The expansion - which could so much as triple the system’s capacity – has been met with opposition from First Nations and environmental groups on the basis that it could potentially be detrimental to the environment. The pipeline project has also faced political uncertainty at the provincial level.

About the judicial review

Nine applicants, including First Nations groups, environmental groups and the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby, filed for judicial review – a consolidation of 15 individually filed requests. The applicants sought to obtain a review of the recent GIC’s Order in Council PC 2016-1069 (OIC) approving the Trans Mountain project, citing insufficient consultation with First Nations. Intervening in support of the applicants was the government of British Columbia. The government of Alberta intervened in support of the federal government’s decision to approve the pipeline.

Why is this important?

Should the FCA rule in favour of the applicants, the government could be forced to reconsider its approval of the project and reopen consultations with various interested parties. This could potentially derail the project and lead to its termination, as was the case with Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipelines Project in 2016. CBA National has compared the two projects, highlighting the legal pitfalls Kinder Morgan should be aware of in order to avoid the fate of Enbridge’s pipeline. Whatever the outcome of this judicial review, it is likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada.

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