Multiple court challenges to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion have now failed. Despite opposition, it’s time for the project to move forward.
In January, the Supreme Court rejected the B.C. provincial government’s appeal of a ruling that prevented the province from requiring permits before bitumen could be shipped through B.C. On Tuesday, the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by Indigenous groups challenging the approval of the Trans Mountain project.
Back in May 2018, the federal government purchased the pipeline for $4.5 billion. For many, the was the strongest signal that come hell or high-water, the pipeline would go through. Everything to date has been consistent with that approach.
After failing to meet their duty to consult Indigenous groups along the pipeline path, the Liberals conducted new consultations with 129 Indigenous groups to push the project through – only nine of which have expressed opposition. The federal government has argued that they held meaningful dialogue while Indigenous groups argued that the federal government had already made up its mind on the project prior to consultations. Ultimately, the court sided with the federal government.
The pipeline will be built. Tanker traffic on Canada’s west coast will increase. There will be economic benefit. There will be environmental damage. Whether the project will improve quality of life for Canadians will only be determined once the project is completed.
According to a survey from Forum Research, 54 percent of Canadians support the pipeline expansion. An Ipsos poll released in June 2019 found 60 percent of British Columbians support the pipeline expansion, with only 29 percent opposed. So, if a majority of the province is in support of the project – why has Premier Horgan fought so hard to block Trans Mountain?
Costs for the project have increased by billions of dollars because of delays. Pipeline CEO Ian Anderson was quoted in a Global News article saying the final cost of the pipeline will be “north of $7.4 billion”.
The B.C. NDP have not yet determined how much they have spent to fight the pipeline in court. B.C. Attorney General David Eby said the government has spent only a fraction of what it would cost to cleanup an oil spill in B.C. waters.
Trans Mountain has obvious pros and obvious cons. However, it is plain to see that no opposition, no matter how entrenched, can prevent the project from moving forward. Further opposition to the project will only lead to more wasted money, and further loss of opportunity for Canada’s energy sector.
It’s time to get the pipeline built.