VANCOUVER – Ecojustice lawyer Dyna Tuytel issued the following statement regarding Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s announcement that the federal government is set to buy Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 billion:

“This decision is deeply disappointing and shockingly irresponsible. It flies in the face of widespread and well-founded public opposition, and puts Canadians on the hook for a project that may have never legally been approved in the first place.

The fact remains that this pipeline expansion project is still subject to multiple unresolved legal challenges.

We 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. On behalf of Living Oceans Society and Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Ecojustice lawyers 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.

If the court rules that the government’s initial approval was unlawful, then it will be forced to go back to the drawing board. No amount of taxpayer dollars can change this reality.”