Not even a month has passed since the federally appointed Joint Review Panel (JRP) released its official report recommending approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline, pending the fulfillment of 209 conditions. Yet already two separate suits have been filed against the integrity of the report, with groups requesting cabinet delay a final decision on the pipeline project until the federal court of appeals can assess the complaints.
One of the suits, filed today by the Environmental Law Centre on behalf of B.C. Nature (the Federation of British Columbia Naturalists), requested the panel’s report be declared invalid and that cabinet halt its decision on the pipeline project until the court challenge is heard. The second suit, filed by Ecojustice on behalf of several environmental groups claims the panel's report is based on insufficient evidence and therefore fails to constitute a full environmental assessment under the law.
Chris Tollefson, B.C. Nature’s lawyer and executive director of the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria, says “we have asked that the federal court make an order that no further steps be taken by any federal regulator or by Cabinet until this request is adjudicated.”