Indigenous groups and other humans who are not in climate denial have significant reason to celebrate today, as the Federal Court of Appeal has invalidated the government’s approvals to build the $7.4 billion Trans Mountain expansion project.
The court, represented by Justice Eleanor Dawson, found that the federal cabinet based its approval of the pipeline on a fatally-flawed National Energy Board assessment of the project. The November 2016 NEB assessment declared that the pipeline would not cause significant adverse environmental impacts, but the NEB neglected to consider the fact that the expansion would triple the pipeline’s output to 890,000 barrels a day, and see a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic in B.C.’s Burrard Inlet. The increased tanker traffic would be a death sentence for the southern resident killer whales in the waters around the line’s shipping terminal, who are already overstressed due to human activity. Underwater noise interferes with the orca’s ability to communicate and to find food.
The court has halted construction of the 1,150-kilometre project indefinitely.
Now, thanks to the Liberal government, Canadian taxpayers are the not-so-proud owners of a proposed pipeline project, or as some have suggested, “a pig in a poke“, and we are on the hook for 7.4-billion dollars. That is the bad news. The good news, though, is that we have dodged a bullet in terms of climate change, and that Salish Sea resident orcas will not follow the cougar into extinction any time soon, and that Indigenous rights have been respected, for once. It is a day to celebrate!