The B.C. government’s reference case asks the court if the province has jurisdiction to regulate the transport of oil through its territory and restrict bitumen shipments from Alberta. (File photo/Black Press Media)

B.C. Court of Appeal to hear province’s oil-transport reference case Monday

The case asks if proposed amendments to B.C.’s Environmental Management Act are valid

British Columbia’s Court of Appeal will consider a key question regarding provincial powers in the political battle over the future of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project during a five-day hearing that starts Monday.

The B.C. government’s reference case asks the court if the province has jurisdiction to regulate the transport of oil through its territory and restrict bitumen shipments from Alberta.

Specifically, it asks if proposed amendments to British Columbia’s Environmental Management Act are valid and if they give the province the authority to control the shipment of heavy oils based on the impact spills could have on the environment, human health or communities.

The province is also asking the court whether the amendments are overridden by federal law.

READ MORE: National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have said only Ottawa, not the provinces, has the authority to decide what goes in trans-boundary pipelines.

Alberta and Saskatchewan have both filed documents as interested parties supporting the federal government in the case.

When B.C. filed the reference case last year, Alberta announced it would ban B.C. wines and accused Horgan of trying to break the rules of Confederation in newspaper ads.

Last summer, the Federal Appeal Court overturned approval of the project to triple oil shipments from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C., ruling that the National Energy Board had not properly considered its impact on marine life nor had Ottawa meaningfully consulted with Indigenous groups.

Last month, the board found that the pipeline is still in the public interest despite the risk that an increase in tanker traffic could adversely affect southern resident killer whales, hurt related Indigenous culture and increase greenhouse gas emissions. It added 16 new recommendations for federal government action in addition to the 156 conditions in its initial approval in 2016.

The federal government purchased the pipeline last year.

Trudeau has said the expansion is in the best interests of all Canadians and his government has committed $1.5 billion to an ocean protection plan that includes millions for research on B.C. killer whales.

Horgan said last year the aim of the case is to protect the province’s coastline and economy from the harms of an oil spill.

“We believe it is our right to take appropriate measures to protect our environment, economy and our coast from the drastic consequence of a diluted bitumen spill,” Horgan said in a statement when the reference case was announced last April.

“And we are prepared to confirm that right in the courts.”

Amy Smart, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Fire ban back in effect for Northwest Fire Centre region

Starting May 24, both Category 2 and Category 3 prohibitions will be in place

Kelowna company wins contract for LNG Canada project in Kitimat

SK Form & Finish will work with equivalent of 4,000 fully loaded concrete trucks

The maze that Jack built

Kitamaat Village kids, young and old, have fun getting lost

Terrace man killed in logging accident ‘would have done anything for anyone’

Wife remembers 43-year old Petr Koncek, father of two children

600 new campsites coming to provincial parks and recreation sites across B.C.

Tourism Minister announced half of the new spots to 13 most popular provincial parks

Municipalities protest after B.C. declares marijuana crops ‘farm use’

UBCM president seeks answers in letter to John Horgan government

CMHC defends mortgage stress test changes amid calls for loosening rules

Uninsured borrowers must now show they could service their mortgage if rates rose two per cent

Nisga’a Nation tourism industry hits the road

First pilot tour to the Nass Valley is set for this summer with Indigenous Tourism BC

B.C. woman left ‘black and blue’ after being pushed off 40-foot cliff at lake

West Shore RCMP looking for witnesses as investigation continues

Thunderstorms to bring heavy rain, risk of flash floods in the southern Interior

Ten to 30 millimetres of rain to fall over the early weekend

MAY 23: the first of 1,200 trailers start arriving

LNG Canada has a transportation plan in place to minimize impact

Unbe-leaf-able: Agassiz man finds more than 200 four-leaf clovers in a month

Walt Hardinge has found more than 219 four-or-more leaf clovers this spring alone

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

The wildfire now covers some 920 square kilometres

Most Read