The B.C. government’s reference case asks the court if the province has jurisdiction to regulate the transport of oil through its territory and restrict bitumen shipments from Alberta. (File photo/Black Press Media)

B.C. Court of Appeal to hear province’s oil-transport reference case Monday

The case asks if proposed amendments to B.C.’s Environmental Management Act are valid

British Columbia’s Court of Appeal will consider a key question regarding provincial powers in the political battle over the future of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project during a five-day hearing that starts Monday.

The B.C. government’s reference case asks the court if the province has jurisdiction to regulate the transport of oil through its territory and restrict bitumen shipments from Alberta.

Specifically, it asks if proposed amendments to British Columbia’s Environmental Management Act are valid and if they give the province the authority to control the shipment of heavy oils based on the impact spills could have on the environment, human health or communities.

The province is also asking the court whether the amendments are overridden by federal law.

READ MORE: National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have said only Ottawa, not the provinces, has the authority to decide what goes in trans-boundary pipelines.

Alberta and Saskatchewan have both filed documents as interested parties supporting the federal government in the case.

When B.C. filed the reference case last year, Alberta announced it would ban B.C. wines and accused Horgan of trying to break the rules of Confederation in newspaper ads.

Last summer, the Federal Appeal Court overturned approval of the project to triple oil shipments from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C., ruling that the National Energy Board had not properly considered its impact on marine life nor had Ottawa meaningfully consulted with Indigenous groups.

Last month, the board found that the pipeline is still in the public interest despite the risk that an increase in tanker traffic could adversely affect southern resident killer whales, hurt related Indigenous culture and increase greenhouse gas emissions. It added 16 new recommendations for federal government action in addition to the 156 conditions in its initial approval in 2016.

The federal government purchased the pipeline last year.

Trudeau has said the expansion is in the best interests of all Canadians and his government has committed $1.5 billion to an ocean protection plan that includes millions for research on B.C. killer whales.

Horgan said last year the aim of the case is to protect the province’s coastline and economy from the harms of an oil spill.

“We believe it is our right to take appropriate measures to protect our environment, economy and our coast from the drastic consequence of a diluted bitumen spill,” Horgan said in a statement when the reference case was announced last April.

“And we are prepared to confirm that right in the courts.”

Amy Smart, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

What does Ladysmith think about the increase in property taxes?

We asked Ladysmith residents how they feel about this year’s tax hike

The mother of all musicals leaves audience members wanting more

Mamma Mia! checks all the boxes as one of the Chemainus Theatre’s all-time best shows

Nanaimo-Ladysmith students put their robots to the test in competition

High school students problem-solved at VEX robotics tournament this week

Old police station development going ahead as “mixed-use” site

Fred Green hosted the second public consultation on what should be done about the decrepit building

Friends reflect on Descoteau’s great qualities

Positive memories remain about how he enriched their lives in so many ways

VIDEO: Protesters in Penticton gather to rally against sleeping-on-sidewalk bylaw

The proposed bylaw would outlaw sitting or lying on the city’s downtown sidewalks

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Most Read