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Construction of Trans Mountain Pipeline Ends As Project Left in Legal Limbo

NGPL Right-of-Way in Illinois (Copyright: Kinder Morgan)

The on again off again Trans Mountain Pipeline is currently off again, stranding some 2000 skilled workers who had been summoned for the project start.

"Official layoff notices have not been issued yet but we're waiting to hear what happens next. Our members were happy to be working. They were expecting long-term employment on the project and to wake up Thursday morning and hear the news on the radio — that the decision came down the way it did was a surprise to all of us,” said
Ryan Bruce, Director of Government and Public Relations for the union CLAC.

A Federal Court of Appeals had ruled against the Trudeau's government approval last week, after it had determined that the indigenous peoples had not been properly consulted nor had the government given sufficient attention to the environmental impact of large crude carriers moving up and down the coast of British Columbia.

Speaking in Surrey, B.C. on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government is “looking carefully” at how it can make sure the expansion project goes ahead even after last Thursday’s ruling from the Federal Court of Appeal.

“The court ruling laid out that we need to do even more than we already have done on environmental science and on partnership with Indigenous peoples,” Trudeau said Tuesday.

“This is a situation where we have determined that this project is in the national interest,” he said, pointing to how almost all of Canada’s oil is currently sold at a discount to the United States. So "we’re going to look at the paths forward that we can take to do better consultation with Indigenous peoples, to do more of the science that they’re asking for.”

Nathan Cullen, a New Democrat from northern British Columbia, said last week’s ruling shows Trudeau failed to improve the environmental review and consultation process for the pipeline, as promised during the 2015 election campaign. Cullen also questioned why the government would move to buy the existing pipeline for $4.5 billion shortly before an expected court decision on the process with which the pipeline was approved.

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