A long-awaited court decision coming Thursday will dictate the future of the controversial $9.3- billion Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion.
The outcome will provide either relatively smooth sailing, at least legally speaking; or more bumpy waters; or, potentially, the project’s death knell.
It’s the biggest legal decision yet of challenges by First Nations and other critics of the approval by Justin Trudeau’s federal Liberal government and the National Energy Board.
The mega-project — supported by business groups in B.C., as well as some unions and First Nations — will triple capacity and is meant to open new markets for crude from the Alberta oilsands in energy-hungry Asia.
The Federal Court of Appeal decision has ramifications for further delays of the expansion, which the company has said has already been delayed by protest and permit challenges.
The court will decide whether several First Nations, including the Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish, were adequately consulted, as well as whether orcas have been properly protected.
Other challenges in B.C. Supreme Court have already been rejected, including by the Squamish Nation and the City of Burnaby.
George Hoberg, a professor at the University of B.C.’s School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, said Thursday’s decision is crucial.
“The City of Burnaby decision … that was small fry compared to this.”
Hoberg anticipates three possible outcomes: the project gets the general blessing of the court, validating the review and consultation process; the review process is criticized but not invalidated; or approval is quashed.
In 2016, in a similar challenge of Enbridge’s $7.9-billion Northern Gateway oil pipeline, the federal court found inadequate First Nation consultation, which all but ended that project.Much more at the link.
In fact, the Northern Gateway was effectively killed by PM Trudeau. From an earlier post:
September 2, 2016: from The Vancouver Sun --
Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway plan is, at least for now, dead in the water after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a letter of instruction Friday telling his transport minister to ban oil tanker traffic on British Columbia’s north coast.
A ban would prevent hundreds of tankers each year from carrying diluted bitumen extracted from Alberta’s oilsands and piped to northern B.C. from being shipped for export overseas.
“It will mean that Northern Gateway will never happen,” said Gerald Graham, a Victoria consultant specializing in oil spills for more than 40 years.Thursday: will be able to say, "what goes around, comes around"?
Church Burning In Texas Carries Hefty Penalty
I was part of the jury pool on this one; not selected most likely because I was "seen" as being too harsh when it came to the punishment phase of the trial.
From the Star-Telegram:
The vandalism that ruined much of St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth was described by its pastor as “disturbingly violent.”
The century-old church near TCU was vandalized and set on fire about 4:30 a.m. on Jan. 8, 2017. The fire was put out quickly but the church was badly damaged, forcing officials to cancel Sunday morning services that week.
The man responsible, Thomas Britton, 56, was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Thursday. The jury took five minutes to reach a decision, according to a news release from the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office.56 years old. 40-year prison sentence. Pretty much a life sentence.