Northern Gateway dealt another blow

ALBERTA – The Northern Gateway pipeline promoted heavily by the Stephen Harper Conservatives has hit yet another roadblock.

A joint appeal was launched in October 2015, which was heard by the appeal court in October by eight First Nations, four environmental groups and one labour union.

June 30, the federal Court of Appeals ruled that the Canadian government under Harper, failed in its duty to consult with First Nations before approving the much embattled pipeline from the Alberta Oil Sands to northern British Columbian coast for international shipping abroad.

The $7.9 billion project went ahead with the federal stamp of approval amidst citizen and First Nations’ complaints, protests, road blocks and legal challenges.

According to APTN, the judgment stated that the government neglected to discuss subjects of critical importance to First Nations by ignoring many of the project’s impacts and offering only a “brief, hurried and inadequate” opportunity for consultation.

“The inadequacies — more than just a handful and more than mere imperfections — left entire subjects of central interest to the affected First Nations, sometimes subjects affecting their subsistence and well-being, entirely ignored,” the decision reads.

“It would have taken Canada little time and little organizational effort to engage in meaningful dialogue on these and other subjects of prime importance to Aboriginal Peoples. But this did not happen.”

APTN reports that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed during last year’s election campaign to formalize a ban on tanker traffic on the north coast, which critics say will kill the project. Trudeau has also voiced his opposition to a crude oil pipeline through the Great Bear rainforest, through which Northern Gateway would traverse.

“Today is a good day for the B.C. coast, climate and salmon rivers,” Sierra Club spokeswoman Caitlyn Vernon said following the decision. The Sierra Club helped raise money to fund First Nations involved in the legal challenge.

“By overturning federal approval of Northern Gateway, the courts have put yet another nail in the coffin of this pipeline and tankers project.”

Although stalled, the project is still breathing. Liberal PM, Justin Trudeau is to give his final approval decision this December, however, this court ruling will play heavily in his decision along with what, if any, efforts are made to play catch-up with the consultation process.

Trudeau has been focusing more on renewable, clean energy projects for Canada.

The public is also invited to fill out an online survey and submit written comments directly to the panel by email.

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