Nation to move forward with legal challenge that could derail NEB's pipeline review
NORTH VANCOUVER, BC and COAST SALISH TERRITORY, July 11, 2014 /CNW/ - Yesterday, the Federal Court of Appeal granted permission to Tsleil-Waututh Nation, the "People of the Inlet," to proceed with its legal challenge of the National Energy Board's (NEB) review of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker expansion project. If successful, the legal challenge could require the NEB to restart its review of the project. That would result in significant delay and create further uncertainty.
"Our Nation is pleased that the Federal Court of Appeal has seen the merit of our legal challenge and has agreed to hear us," says Chief Maureen Thomas, Tsleil-Waututh Nation. "The Crown and the NEB have entered into an unlawful process, one that does not respect Aboriginal Rights and Title. We are still at the beginning of a long fight, but we are deeply committed to protecting our territory. We will use all legal means necessary to defend it against NEB's unilateral and one-sided review process and Kinder Morgan's project."
On May 2, 2014, the Nation filed legal materials with the Federal Court of Appeal which asserted 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 there at risk. The legal challenge is the first by a First Nation against Kinder Morgan's new pipeline and tanker proposal.
Legal materials filed 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 about key decisions for the environmental assessment and regulatory review of the project.
"We are the People of the Inlet, and we are one with the land and water. It's part of our spirit. We have a sacred trust, a responsibility to care for our lands, air, and waters. We will move forward with this legal challenge and fight the NEB's unlawful process. We do this to defend our territory and to protect it for everyone who calls this region home," says Rueben George, Sacred Trust Initiative, Project Manager Public Engagement, Tsleil-Waututh Nation.
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 pipeline.
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.
SOURCE: Tsleil-Waututh Nation
For further information: Media Contact: Sarah Thomas, Tsleil-Waututh Nation, 604-358-3371, [email protected]