VANCOUVER — The Federal Court of Appeal says six of 12 proposed legal challenges to the Trans Mountain pipeline project can proceed.
The federal government approved the plan to triple the capacity of an existing pipeline from Alberta’s oilpatch to the coast of British Columbia for a second time in June.
Environmental groups and First Nations sought leave to appeal, arguing the ecological assessment and consultation process were inadequate.
The court has released a written decision saying it will allow six of the 12 requests to appeal.
It says the allowed challenges are limited to the narrow issue of the adequacy of the consultation with Indigenous Peoples and related issues.
The federal government has twice approved a plan to twin an existing pipeline from Alberta’s oilpatch to the B.C. coast.
Last year the Federal Court of Appeal tore up the original approval, citing both an insufficient environment review and inadequate consultations with Indigenous communities.
The Liberals say they fixed both problems and approved the expansion a second time in June.
Environment groups still say there are not adequate protections for endangered marine species that will be affected by tanker traffic picking up oil from a terminal in suburban Vancouver.
Several First Nations say the federal government came into the most recent discussions having predetermined the outcome.
The federal government bought the existing pipeline and the unfinished expansion work for $4.5 billion last year, promising to get it over the political opposition that had scared Kinder Morgan Canada off proceeding.
The move disappointed environmentalists, who say the global climate can’t handle more emissions from Alberta’s oilsands and the eventual burning of the petroleum they produce. The Liberals say they’ll use any profits from the project to fund Canada’s transition to a cleaner-energy economy.
The Canadian Press