Trans Mountain timeline: A look at key dates in the project’s history

OTTAWA — The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion cleared another legal hurdle Thursday when the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal to First Nations that argue they were not properly consulted about the project.

The decision appears to end legal arguments about Ottawa’s decision to approve the project, which is already under construction.

Here are some other key dates in the history of the pipeline:

October 1953: The Trans Mountain pipeline begins shipping oil with an initial capacity of 150,000 barrels per day, running from loading facilities on the east side of Edmonton to a marine shipping facility in Burnaby, B.C. It is expanded in 1957 and 2008 to eventually pump up to 300,000 barrels of oil per day.

Feb. 21, 2012: Kinder Morgan Canada says it wants to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline after receiving support from oil shippers and will begin public consultations.

Dec. 16, 2013: An application is made to the National Energy Board (NEB) to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline. Construction is proposed to begin in 2017, with the aim of having oil flow through the expansion by December 2019.

August 2015: The NEB postpones public hearings after striking from the record economic evidence prepared by a Kinder Morgan consultant who was to begin working for the regulator.

Jan. 27, 2016: The federal Liberal government says assessments of pipeline projects such as the Trans Mountain expansion will now take into account the greenhouse gas emissions produced in the extraction and processing of the oil they carry. Proponents will also be required to improve consultations with First Nations.

May 17, 2016: Ottawa appoints a three-member panel to conduct an environmental review of the Trans Mountain expansion project.

May 29, 2016: The NEB concludes the project is in the public interest and recommends it be approved, subject to 157 conditions.

Nov. 29, 2016: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces that cabinet has approved the expansion, part of a sweeping announcement that also saw approval of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline replacement, but the end of its Northern Gateway project.

Jan. 11, 2017: B.C. Premier Christy Clark announces her support for the project, saying Kinder Morgan has met five government conditions including a revenue-sharing agreement worth up to $1 billion.

May 25, 2017: Kinder Morgan makes its final investment decision to proceed with the development, now estimated to cost $7.4 billion, subject to the successful public offering of Kinder Morgan Canada.

May 29, 2017: The B.C. NDP and Greens agree to form a coalition to topple the provincial Liberal party, which could only manage a minority in the previous month’s provincial election. The parties agree to “immediately employ every tool available” to stop the project. The coalition defeats the B.C. Liberals in a confidence motion a month later, paving the way for John Horgan to become premier.

Aug. 10, 2017: The B.C. NDP government hires former judge Thomas Berger to provide legal advice as it seeks intervener status in the legal challenges against the project filed by municipalities and First Nations.

Dec. 7, 2017: NEB allows Kinder Morgan Canada to bypass Burnaby bylaws.

Jan. 17, 2018: Kinder Morgan Canada warns the Trans Mountain expansion project could be a year behind schedule.

Jan. 30, 2018: B.C. government moves to restrict any increase in diluted bitumen shipments until it conducts more spill response studies, a move that increases the uncertainty for Trans Mountain.

March 23, 2018: Green party Leader Elizabeth May and NDP MP Kennedy Stewart are arrested at a protest against the pipeline expansion; Federal Court of Appeal dismisses a B.C. government bid challenging a NEB ruling that allows Kinder Morgan Canada to bypass local bylaws.

April 8, 2018: Kinder Morgan Canada suspends non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain expansion project and sets a May 31 deadline to get assurances that the project will be able to proceed.

May 29, 2018: The federal government announces a deal to buy the pipeline and expansion project from Kinder Morgan Canada for $4.4 billion.

Aug. 30, 2018: The Federal Court of Appeal overturns the Trudeau government’s approval of the pipeline expansion, ruling neither Indigenous consultation nor the environmental review were properly completed.

Sept. 15, 2018: Natural resources minister Amarjeet Sohi orders the NEB to undertake a new environmental assessment of the impact additional oil tankers off the coast of British Columbia will have, with a specific focus on the risks to southern resident killer whales. The NEB has until late February to report back.

Oct. 3, 2018: Sohi hires former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Frank Iacobucci to oversee a new round of Indigenous consultations. No deadline is set for the completion of the process.

Feb. 22, 2019: The NEB recommends to cabinet that it approve the project again, subject to 16 new conditions, and says although an oil spill could be significant, the project provides considerable benefits and there are measures that can be taken to minimize the effects. The federal cabinet has 90 days _ until May 22 _ to respond with a decision.

April 18, 2019: Sohi announces cabinet has decided to push the pipeline decision back until June 18, citing a need to take more time to complete Indigenous consultations.

June 18, 2019: The federal Liberal government approves the expansion a second time, requiring that all federal revenue it generates be reinvested in clean energy and green technology. That includes an estimated $500 million a year in new annual corporate tax revenues and the proceeds from the eventual sale of the entire expanded pipeline back to the private sector.

Aug. 21, 2019: Trans Mountain Corp., restarts construction on the expansion, with an in-service date estimated for mid-2022.

Sept. 4, 2019: The Federal Court of Appeal agrees to hear a new challenge to the government’s approval by six First Nations about the Indigenous consultation process, which the bands say was a rubber-stamping exercise. It refuses to hear appeals from First Nations and environment groups about the environmental review.

Jan. 16, 2020: The Supreme Court rejects B.C.’s bid to regulate what can flow through the pipeline, ruling that as an interprovincial pipeline it falls entirely within federal jurisdiction.

Feb. 4, 2020: Federal Court of Appeal dismisses First Nations appeal of the project’s approval, ruling the government’s consultation process was genuine and fulfilled the duty to consult. In early April the First Nations appeal the decision.

March 5, 2020: The Supreme Court of Canada refuses to hear appeal from First Nations and environment groups about the environmental review for the project. Environment groups say they have no more legal challenges to mount.

July 2, 2020: The Supreme Court refuses to hear the appeal from First Nations about the Indigenous consultation process.

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