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An orca breaches the water and catches a fish in its mouth.

Photo via Center for Whale Research, WhaleResearch.com

press release

Statement: Conservation groups respond to Federal Court of Appeal decision on Trans Mountain

September 4, 2019

VANCOUVER – The Federal Court of Appeal ruled today that it will not proceed with hearing a case Ecojustice brought on behalf of Raincoast Conservation Foundation and Living Oceans Society, challenging the federal government’s approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline project.

Ecojustice lawyer Margot Venton, who represents Raincoast Conservation Foundation and Living Oceans Society in this challenge, released the following statement in response to the news:

“We are extremely disappointed the court refused to hear our challenge of the federal government’s decision to re-approve the Trans Mountain pipeline project, as well as any other challenges on environmental grounds.

“The dramatic increase in underwater noise, a ship strike, or a catastrophic oil spill associated with the Trans Mountain project could be a death sentence to the critically endangered Southern Resident killer whales. In addition to this, pipeline projects like Trans Mountain accelerate climate change at a time when we know we must take urgent action to slow global temperature rise.

“We remain committed to protecting the Southern Resident killer whales, fighting climate change, and holding Cabinet to account, and we will review our legal option in the coming weeks. Given the urgency of this situation, we will not rule out taking our fight to the Supreme Court of Canada.

“Going to the country’s highest court may seem like a drastic measure, but — in the midst of a climate emergency and biodiversity crisis — these are drastic times.

“In the meantime, we would like to wish good luck to our friends and colleagues who are proceeding with their separate legal challenges of the government’s decision to re-approve Trans Mountain.”


Ecojustice is Canada’s largest environmental law charity. Ecojustice goes to court and uses the power of the law to defend nature, combat climate change, and fight for a healthy environment for all.

Living Oceans Society has been a leader in the effort to protect Canada’s oceans since forming in 1998. Living Oceans Society advocates for oceans that are managed for the common good, according to science-based policies that consider ecosystems in their entirety.

Raincoast Conservation Foundation is a team of conservationists and scientists empowered by research to protect the lands, waters and wildlife of coastal British Columbia. As a charitable, non-profit conservation science organization that operates a research lab, research station and a research/sailing vessel, they are unique in Canada.