B.C. hires outside counsel to begin legal challenge of Trans Mountain pipeline project – British Columbia

B.C. has announced it has hired outside counsel to begin its legal challenge of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

On Thursday, B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman and Attorney General David Eby said the province has hired lawyer Thomas Berger to provide advice to the government.

Berger is a former Supreme Court justice.

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Two B.C. cabinet ministers are speaking this morning on how the government will move forward on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Both Attorney General David Eby and Environment Minister George Heyman campaigned against the $7.4-billion project during the spring election. 

Halting the expansion was also a key campaign promise for Premier John Horgan, who has said he’ll use “every tool in the toolbox” to stop the project.

In his mandate letter, the premier also called on Heyman to “defend B.C.’s interests” in face of the expansion.

In July, Eby said the NDP government was exploring its options to halt the project, but had ruled out artificially delaying permits. The minister said doing so would put the province at risk for a costly lawsuit from Trans Mountain, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan Canada.

“We’ll end up paying hundreds of millions of dollars that should be going to schools and hospitals to an oil company,” Eby said.

The B.C.-to-Alberta pipeline has been approved by the federal government as well as by the province’s previous government. The proposal was to triple the 1,150-km pipeline’s capacity to move oil between Edmonton and Burnaby, B.C.

Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion project’s Westeridge loading dock is seen in Burnaby, B.C., in November 2016. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Several First Nations are suing the federal government over its approval of the pipeline plan and others have challenged B.C.’s environmental certificate.

Horgan said last month that he’d met with leaders from the Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam and Squamish First Nations to hear their views on the matter.

“We’ll deal with those in the days and weeks ahead,” the premier said at the time.

Construction on the expansion project is scheduled to start in September.

What you need to know about the Trans Mountain…

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