In 2012 it was called the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
But in 2018, the federal government jumped in to save the troubled project with $4.5 billion of public money and all of a sudden, Canadians now owned a pipeline.
But now it seems, for better or worse, the 1,150 km Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project is going ahead – again.
In a unanimous decision Tuesday, the Federal Court of Appeal has dismissed a challenge to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project by several First Nations.
“Government of Canada has adequately fulfilled its duty to consult with Indigenous peoples,” the court said in its ruling.
“The court focused on the reasonableness of Cabinet’s decision to approve the Project a second time, specifically Cabinet’s conclusion that the Government of Canada had remedied the flaws in the consultation earlier identified by this Court and had engaged in adequate and meaningful consultation with Indigenous peoples.”
The Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Squamish Nation, Coldwater Indian Band and a coalition of seven Stó:lō villages filed court challenges after the federal government approved the project a second time last June.
A court hearing in December focused on the government’s consultation with First Nations between August 2018 and June 2019.
Chief Lee Spahan of the Coldwater Indian Band said in a statement an appeal to the Supreme Court is under consideration.
He also said his band must still be consulted on the route the expansion will take, with the approved route passing an aquifer that is the only source of drinking water for 320 people living on the main Coldwater reserve.
The band wants the route moved away from the aquifer.
The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs hosted a news conference in Vancouver to react to the ruling.
“UBCIC strongly disagrees with the decision released today (Tuesday) and continues to stand by the Indigenous Nations who put forth their legal challenges to defend their right to free, prior and informed consent,” said UBCIC Grand Chief Stewart Phillip in a statement.
“Let me make clear that Indigenous peoples are not seeking a veto. We are seeking to have our human rights upheld.”
Since the announcement of the twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline back in 2012 – APTN News has been bringing you stories from the frontlines.
Here’s a look back on some of those stories.