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Canada’s Top Court Dismisses Burnaby Case Against Trans Mountain Pipeline

Canada’s Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed an appeal by the City of Burnaby—the planned end point of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in British Columbia on the Pacific coast, clearing another legal hurdle for the project, which still faces several lawsuits at various Canadian courts.

The City of Burnaby was seeking to overturn a decision by Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB), which ruled in favor of Kinder Morgan in December last year, saying the company is not required to comply with two sections of the City of Burnaby’s bylaws as it was preparing to begin construction of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. The NEB found that Burnaby’s bylaw review process was unreasonable and caused an unreasonable delay.

The Trans Mountain expansion has become one of the most controversial pipeline projects in North America as it pitted two provinces—Alberta and British Columbia—against each other.

Alberta’s heavy oil producers need more pipeline capacity as their production grows, but pipeline capacity has stayed the same. British Columbia’s NDP government, which came into office last year, however, is against any new oil pipelines, although it doesn’t mind all the crude it currently gets from the existing pipeline.

The fierce opposition in British Columbia has forced Kinder Morgan to reconsider its commitment to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline, and to sell the project to the Canadian government.

“We’re disappointed that the courts seem unwilling to review decisions made by the National Energy Board that hamper municipal jurisdiction,” Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan said, commenting on today’s court ruling.

“Burnaby is not going away. We intend to continue to oppose this project with all legal means available to us, and will be continuing with our other legal challenges,” Corrigan added.

Rachel Notley, the Premier of Alberta, tweeted that “We are pleased with the Supreme Court’s Decision today to dismiss Burnaby’s leave to appeal.”

“When the City of Burnaby tried to block the Trans Mountain Pipeline in court, we intervened – and we won in court and we won again today. In fact, the courts have ruled 17 out of 17 times in favour of Trans Mountain,” Notley tweeted.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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