Posted on August 29, 2018 (updated: June 19, 2019)

MEDIA ADVISORY: Environmental law and science experts available to comment on Trans Mountain decision

A decision from the Federal Court of Appeal on cases against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is expected Thursday, Aug. 30.

VANCOUVER – Environmental law and science experts are available to comment on the Federal Court of Appeal’s forthcoming decision on the federal government’s approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, and its implications for the coast, climate and communities.

Ecojustice lawyers represented Living Oceans Society and Raincoast Conservation Foundation in a lawsuit filed against the federal government. The court also heard other lawsuits filed by First Nations — The Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Squamish Nation, Coldwater Indian Band, Upper Nicola Band, Stk’emlupsemc Te Secwepemc Nation and Sto:lo applicants — the City of Burnaby and the City of Vancouver during a consolidated hearing in October 2017.

Ecojustice lawyers argued that the National Energy Board report on the project, released in 2016, used an overly narrow interpretation of the law to avoid addressing the effects of oil tanker traffic on endangered Southern Resident killer whales and their critical habitat.

Ecojustice, Living Oceans Society and Raincoast Conservation Foundation released the following statements ahead of the ruling:

“Legally, this project cannot proceed without addressing the full range of impacts on federally-protected species at risk and adequately consulting with the First Nations communities it directly affects. We argued that the government broke the law when it approved the project without any conditions to protect the Southern Resident killer whales. If the court agrees, then federal approval of the pipeline cannot stand,” Dyna Tuytel, Ecojustice lawyer, said.

“When a tanker spill occurs virtually anywhere in Burrard Inlet or the Salish Sea, it will put at risk the health of more than 1.5 million British Columbians and countless migratory birds, fish and marine mammals. No matter how many times the government says ‘stringent review’, the fact remains that no credible risk assessment was ever presented and no credible cleanup plan exists.” Karen Wristen, executive director of Living Oceans Society said.

“Our research shows that if the Trans Mountain project proceeds, there will be a 50-50 chance that endangered Southern Resident killer whales will become effectively extinct this century. We are optimistic that tomorrow’s ruling will make it clear that the project cannot proceed unless the threats to Southern Resident killer whales are addressed,” Paul Paquet, senior scientist at Raincoast Conservation Foundation said.

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

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

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.

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