Ecojustice Blog – Climate change Posted on September 21, 2016 (updated: March 29, 2017)

Why we filed a Supreme Court application today

Devon PageLawyer
Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management

When the Federal Court of Appeal ruling blocked Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline in June, we were ecstatic.  But the devil is always in the details.

While the ruling stopped the pipeline, it also set a troubling precedent that makes it even harder for concerned citizens to challenge risky projects that harm the environment.

Environmental assessment panels make mistakes.  And when they do, concerned citizens and public interest groups like our clients, Raincoast Conservation Foundation, should be able to challenge those assessments in court.

In its decision, the Court held that reviewing the legality of environmental assessment reports was outside its jurisdiction.  In other words, if an environmental assessment panel makes a mistake, concerned citizens may have little legal recourse to address those flaws.  If that happens, we all lose.

That’s why we’re taking this matter before the Supreme Court of Canada.  And we’re counting on your help to win this fight.

The Enbridge decision is already wreaking all kinds of havoc. Kinder Morgan has used it in an attempt to dismiss our lawsuit challenging the National Energy Board’s recommendation of approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline project. And earlier this month, the Federal Court of Appeal relied on the same decision to deny the Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s application to challenge the Kinder Morgan pipeline project process.

We can’t leave this precedent unchallenged.  When it comes to ensuring close scrutiny of major pipeline projects that put our communities, ecosystems, and climate at risk, there is simply too much at stake.

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