A Canadian appeals court may have upended Canada’s plans to build a pipeline that can transport oil from the province of Alberta to ports on the Pacific Coast.
The court vacated several approvals Thursday that the Trans Mountain pipeline project had received from federal regulators. The three-judge panel ruled that Canada did not consult with indigenous peoples enough before granting the approvals, and that a study on the environmental impacts of the proposed pipeline was flawed, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The court challenge to the pipeline stemmed from lawsuit brought by a coalition of environmental groups, indigenous tribes and the city if Vancouver.
“Thankfully, the court has stepped in where Canada has failed to protect and respect our rights and our water,” Coldwater Indian Band chief Lee Spahan said in a statement, according to The Guardian.
The Trans Mountain pipeline is key to expanding Canada’s oil infrastructure and connecting shale fields in Alberta with oil hungry markets in Asia. The majority of Canadian crude exports currently go to the U.S. because Canada lacks pipelines that can carry crude from landlocked shale fields to shipping vessels in Pacific ports.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made plans to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline from the U.S.-based company Kinder Morgan in May. (RELATED: Trudeau Government Nationalizes Kinder Morgan Pipeline For $4.5B)
Canada agreed to purchase the pipeline for $4.5 billion. Thursday’s ruling may undercut those plans, though, or Canadian taxpayers will be on the hook for funding a multi-billion dollar acquisition of a worthless infrastructure proposal.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley slammed the court decision and the called on Trudeau to find a fix to the pipeline’s potential doom. Notley threatened to bury plans to raise Alberta’s carbon tax if plans for the pipeline were not pushed through, according to The Globe And Mail.
“Alberta has done everything right and we have been let down,” Notley said. “It’s a crisis.”
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