Starting today the federal government will face 18 separate challenges against the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline in the Federal Court of Appeal in Vancouver.
A consolidated group of environmental organizations, one labour union and First Nations are fighting the approval of the project on the grounds that the federal government violated First Nations rights, failed to protect species at risk and did not consider the full impacts of an oil spill in its decision.
Chris Tollefson, lawyer from the University of Victoria Environmental Law Centre and counsel for appellant B.C. Nature, said the case demonstrates the importance of due process when making decisions on major infrastructure projects like oil and gas pipelines.
“This case has the potential to affirm how important it is to have a robust federal environmental assessment law that holds project proponents to account,” he said.
Challenges presented by First Nations appellants will be presented over the next two days, Tollefson explained, with environmental groups following. The trial will stretch over six days, the longest a case has ever been before the Federal Court of Appeals.