It’s another blow for Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project.
The BC Supreme Court ruled today that the provincial government failed to adequately consult with First Nations on the pipeline.
The Provincial Government had entered an ‘Equivalency Agreement’ with federal regulators, and handed the National Energy Board sole jurisdiction over the environmental assessment decision making on the project.
That ‘Equivalency Agreement’ was the centre of a lawsuit brought forward by the Gitgat’a First Nation and Coastal First Nations.
“We have now found a way to put a stop to that, and make sure that BC accepts its own responsibility and makes it’s own decisions that we elected them to make, instead of shuffling that off to the federal government.” Art Sterritt with the Coastal First Nations says
“BC Supreme Court has said that British Columbia did not meet their duty to consult. As a result of that, they have said BC has to make their own decision as to whether or not an environmental certificate is issued.”
Sterritt says that the Coastal First Nations are “elated” with the ruling.
The Trudeau government has already announced a moratorium on oil tankers on the North Coast, and this ruling is another huge setback for the project which many have already declared dead.
“We now have a federal government that is listening, we believe, to First Nations. We need the provincial government to now begin to listen.” Sterritt “They can’t just pay lip service to it, they can’t come out politically and say they are opposed to something while administratively allowing it to proceed,”
The ruling effectively sets the clock back to zero on the project.
Until the province makes a decision on the pipeline and issues an Environmental Assessment Certificate, none of the 60 odd permits and authorizations needed for the pipeline can be issued.