The Trans Mountain Pipeline (otherwise known as the TMX Pipeline Expansion Project), one of several in Canada that has languished due to environmental objections, has just received a big boost from British Columbia's Court of Appeal, which has ruled that British Columbia does not have the authority to stop the flow of diluted bitumen from Alberta through British Columbia.
The Court, in a unanimous decision of five judges, maintained that the Trans Mountain Pipeline is "inter-provincial" and as such is subject to federal jurisdiction. In other words the province of British Columbia cannot unilaterally obstruct the development of the pipeline which has far-reaching implications for the entire country.
The TMX Pipeline Expansion initially proposed by U.S.-based Kinder Morgan which later sold the pipeline to Ottawa, would have seen a twinning of the old pipeline and a significant increase in crude flow to the company’s Westridge dock in Burnaby.
The British Columbia provisional law on the pipeline would have usurped the role of the NEB (National Energy Board), "which has made many rulings and imposed many conditions to be complied with by Trans Mountain for the protection of the environment.”
The Court concluded that "the TMX project is not only a ‘British Columbia project’. The project affects the country as a whole, and falls to be regulated taking into account the interests of the country as a whole.”