FILE – B.C. Attorney General David Eby at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, May 9, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)

B.C.’s fight to regulate bitumen through pipelines to go to Canada’s top court

BC Appeal Court judges found B.C. cannot restrict bitumen flow along Trans Mountain pipeline

B.C.’s NDP government will be appealing a BC Appeal Court ruling where a five-judge panel unanimously agreed that the province has no constitutional right to restrict the transport of bitumen through inter-provincial pipelines.

READ MORE: Court says B.C. can’t restrict oil shipments in key case for Trans Mountain

Attorney General David Eby announced in Vancouver Friday, just a few hours after the court decision was released, that the case would be brought to the Supreme Court of Canada.

“While we are disappointed with the decision, our courts have an important role to play in upholding the rule of law. That is why we referred this question to the courts in the first place,” he told reporters.

“We continue to believe we have the ability and authority to protect our environment and economy, so we will exercise our right to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.”

Reference cases are automatically heard by Canada’s top court.

Premier John Horgan called the decision disappointing while at an unrelated funding announcement in Kelowna.

The decision by the BC Appeal Court notably marks a win for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which has been a contentious project pitting Alberta and B.C. politicians and tax payers against one another.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion. Construction was paused last August after the Federal Court of Appeal overturned the federal permits.

The project would triple the pipeline’s capacity to carry diluted bitumen from the Edmonton area to Metro Vancouver, and increase the number of tankers in Burrard Inlet seven-fold.

The province had filed a constitutional reference question to the B.C. Court of Appeal that asked whether it had the authority to create a permitting regime for companies that wished to increase their flow of diluted bitumen.

A five-judge panel agreed unanimously that the amendments to B.C.’s Environmental Management Act were not constitutional because they would interfere with the federal government’s exclusive jurisdiction over inter-provincial pipelines.

READ MORE: B.C. legislation only applies to Trans Mountain, pipeline proponent argues

READ MORE: Big court ruling could set Trans Mountain pipeline’s fate: experts

Justice Mary Newbury wrote on behalf of the panel that the substance of the proposed amendments were to place conditions on and, if necessary, prohibit the movement of heavy oil through a federal undertaking.

Former Alberta premier Rachel Notley was quick to comment on the court decision.

“Turns out B.C.’s toolbox was more Fisher Price than DeWalt. This is a good day for people with toolboxes all across Canada,” she wrote.

With files from Laura Kane, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Money in to finish Lougheed Highway twinning

Feds announce $29 million to complete four laning of four-kilometre stretch in Maple Ridge

Campers expect 100 per cent online reservations at Golden Ears next season

Maple Ridge group has been fighting to keep drive in bookings

Maple Ridge council will be asked to declare climate emergency

Vancouver, London and Los Angeles have already done so

Pitt Meadows seeks partners in flood protection

$100 million in work needed to improve dike system

Maple Ridge senior facing homelessness at the end of the month

Jean Ticehurst can’t find affordable housing

Fashion Fridays: 5 casual summer dress styles

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Injured fawn at B.C. vet will be euthanized Friday night unless claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer is currently being treated at West Kelowna’s Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

Trudeau says Ottawa open to proposals for B.C. refinery as gas prices soar

Prime minister says he knows B.C. residents are struggling and the federal government is open to ideas

Clock’s ticking to share how you feel about Daylight Saving Time in B.C.

Provincial public survey ends at 4 p.m. on Friday

B.C. man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

Most Read