Today’s announcement that the federal government will spend $4.5 billion in taxpayer dollars to buy Kinder Morgan’s troubled Trans Mountain project was not the news we wanted to wake up to this morning.
There are many adjectives we might use to describe the federal government’s latest move: Disappointing. Short-sighted. Desperate.
But above all, it is irresponsible. The federal government is using taxpayer dollars to make a bad bet on a project that may have never been legally approved in the first place.
The expansion’s fate is still subject to multiple unresolved legal challenges.
Ecojustice lawyers, including myself, went to court last fall as part of a historic hearing that saw compelling arguments against the project from environmental groups, First Nations and local governments. Our case argued that the government didn’t follow the law when it signed off on the project, putting endangered Southern Resident killer whales at serious risk.
Meanwhile, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Squamish Nation, Coldwater Indian Band, Upper Nicola Band, Stk’emlupsemc Te Secwepemc and Sto:lo argued that the government failed to properly consult them before approving the expansion. This is an argument that has proven deadly to past projects — including Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project.
Any day now, the Federal Court of Appeal could rule that the government’s approval of the Trans Mountain expansion was unlawful and send it back to the drawing board.
And so, this fact remains: The future of this pipeline is anything but certain. In the courts and on the ground, the fight to protect communities, the climate, and the coast continues.
Wondering how you can help? Here are three things you can do right now to show solidarity with those working to stop Kinder Morgan: