The best chance to defeat Kinder Morgan by legal means just ended after a nine day trial in Vancouver’s Federal Court of Appeals.
On the first day of the trial, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip hosted a welcome rally, reminding the Kinder Morgan resistance that no matter what happens in the Federal Court of Appeals, we will do whatever it takes to stop Kinder Morgan.
“We know that the court proceedings upstairs, where we’re hearing powerful arguments is just one part of this fight. The other battle is on the ground and we all know and many of you — thousands upon thousands — have pledged to do what it takes, to stop this pipeline, to stop the TransMountain Kinder Morgan pipeline, dead in its tracks.”
After nine days of testimony, we celebrated the last day of the court case aimed at overturning the Kinder Morgan approval by cabinet. Rueben George spoke to us about Pull Together, the campaign to fund these court cases that benefit us all and the cost being borne disproportionately by First Nations. You can donate to the legal fund here: www.Pull-Together.ca
If you're interested in the nuts and bolts of the court cases, West Coast Environmental Law published an in-depth look at the cases.
First Nations immediately declared their intention to challenge the NEB approval in 2016 over the total lack of meaningful consultation of the NEB process. Rueben George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation (TWN) issued a statement at the time: "This case is about the NEB and federal Crown acting unilaterally and running roughshod over TWN's constitutional rights, resulting in a fundamentally flawed review process."
Economist Robyn Allan withdrew from the NEB hearings on Kinder Morgan, citing numerous ways industry was being favoured: the right to cross-examine Kinder Morgan was suppressed, a refusal to consider greenhouse gas emissions and climate impacts, accepting Kinder Morgan’s risk assessment of a major oil spill in Burrard Inlet without challenge, among others.
Seven (then six) First Nations challenging the lack of consent in the Federal Court of Appeals, joined by two environmental organizations on behalf of the orcas and the salmon. The cities of Vancouver and Burnaby - with a last-minute addition of the new BC government - argued that the approval of Kinder Morgan by federal cabinet was based on a 30,000 report and recommendation from the National Energy Board (NEB) that didn't take into account a host of factors. Read about it on WCEL's blog.
Justin Trudeau's Cabinet accepted the NEB’s report and 157 conditions with zero changes, even though this was a Stephen Harper production from start to finish and the process itself was hopelessly biased towards an approval. Justin Trudeau promised a re-do in his 2015 election tape, caught on tape here by Dogwood BC’s Kai Nagata.
The same type of court case killed Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline - after eight months of deliberations. The justices have promised that this one will be quicker - but Kinder Morgan will be pushing to begin construction and get back the point of no return.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said on opening day of the court cases:
"We know that the court proceedings upstairs, where we're hearing powerful arguments is just one part of this fight. The other battle is on the ground and we all know and many of you - thousands upon thousands - have pledged to do what it takes, to stop this pipeline, to stop the TransMountain Kinder Morgan pipeline, dead in its tracks."