Nation says unlawful conduct of National Energy Board, including
one-sided cross-examination process, could derail pipeline review
NORTH VANCOUVER, BC and COAST SALISH TERRITORY, May 2, 2014 /CNW/ -
Today, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, the "People of the Inlet", is
launching a legal challenge of the National Energy Board's (NEB) review
of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project. The
Nation says that serious legal errors made by the federal Crown and NEB
have led to a flawed and unlawful review process that puts Burrard
Inlet and all peoples who live here at risk.
This is the first legal challenge by a First Nation against the new
pipeline and tanker proposal, and it opens the project to significant
delay and uncertainty.
"The Crown and NEB are running roughshod over our Aboriginal Title and
Rights. The process to review Kinder Morgan's proposed pipeline
expansion and tanker project was designed without First Nations
consultation or public participation. The timelines appear to have
been designed to rush through approvals," says Chief Maureen Thomas,
Legal materials to be filed in the Federal Court of Appeal today will
demonstrate that, among other things, the NEB lacked legal authority to
start its review process because of the federal government's failure to
first consult Tsleil-Waututh on key decisions about the environmental
assessment and regulatory review of the project. A backgrounder on the
details of the appeal may be found at: www.twnation.ca/Newsroom.aspx
"Our laws establish a sacred trust, a responsibility to care for our
lands, air and waters. The federal government has forced us to go to
court to defend ourselves and our territory. We will fight this
unilateral and one-sided review process, and this project with all
legal means," says Rueben George, Sacred Trust Initiative, Project
Manager Public Engagement, Tsleil-Waututh Nation.
The one-sided review would see Tsleil-Waututh elders cross-examined by
pipeline company lawyers, but company experts and representatives would
not need to testify under oath themselves.
"This challenge goes to the heart of the Crown's assertion that it can
make unilateral decisions about our territories," continues Chief
Maureen Thomas. "Our nation has self government authority to review and
make decisions that affect our territory according to our own Law.
Canada's own environmental assessment laws confirm this jurisdiction,
and the government's failure to consult and cooperate with us as
Governments has landed them in court. We are enforcing our own laws.
We are enforcing Canadian environmental law."
If approved, Kinder Morgan's proposal would see the transport of tar
sands oil expanded from its present level of approximately 300,000
barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day. With an almost seven-fold
increase in oil tankers moving through Burrard Inlet and the Salish
Sea, an increase in groundings, accidents, incidents, leaks and oil
spills would be inevitable.
A serious oil spill would devastate an already-stressed marine
environment and risks collapses in the remaining salmon stocks and
further contamination of shellfish beds, wiping out Indigenous fishing
and harvesting rights.
About Tsleil-Waututh Nation
Tsleil-Waututh Nation is a progressive and vibrant Coast Salish
community of approximately 500 members. The Nation is located along the
shores of Burrard Inlet in North Vancouver, B.C., Canada, across the
Inlet from the Burnaby terminus of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain
The Nation's Sacred Trust Initiative is mandated to oppose and stop the
Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline project. For more information
visit www.twnsacredtrust.ca and follow the Sacred Trust Initiative on Twitter: @TWNSacredTrust.
Image with caption: "L to R Rueben George, Chief Maureen Thomas and Gabriel George Chief Maureen Thomas of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation announces a legal challenge of the Kinder Morgan Pipeline and Tankers Project Whey-ah-Wichen\Cates Park. (CNW Group/Tsleil-Waututh Nation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140502_C6366_PHOTO_EN_39912.jpg
Image with caption: "Rueben George speaks at the announcement of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation legal challenge of the Kinder Morgan Pipeline and Tankers Project Whey-ah-Wichen\Cates Park. (CNW Group/Tsleil-Waututh Nation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140502_C6366_PHOTO_EN_39913.jpg
Image with caption: "Chief Maureen Thomas of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation announces a legal challenge of the Kinder Morgan Pipeline and Tankers Project Whey-ah-Wichen\Cates Park. (CNW Group/Tsleil-Waututh Nation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140502_C6366_PHOTO_EN_39914.jpg
SOURCE: Tsleil-Waututh Nation
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