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Court overturns Northern Gateway pipeline approval

Boats sit in a harbour in Kitimat, B.C., Tuesday, June, 17, 2014.
Boats sit in a harbour in Kitimat, B.C., Tuesday, June, 17, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

VANCOUVER – The Federal Court of Appeal has overturned the government’s approval of a controversial pipeline proposal that would link Alberta’s oilsands to British Columbia’s north coast.

In a written decision, the court says Canada fell short in its duty to consult with aboriginal people before giving the green light to Enbridge’s $7.9-billion Northern Gateway project.

The pipeline proposal received federal approval in 2014 but has been mired in legal uncertainty ever since.

READ MORE: Alberta Premier Rachel Notley rethinking stance on Northern Gateway pipeline

Eight First Nations, four environmental groups and one labour union launched the legal challenge.

The judgment is dated June 23 and has not been posted on the court’s website, but it was released today by JFK Law Corp., which represents a First Nation involved in the appeal.

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Statement from Northern Gateway:

John Carruthers, president of Northern Gateway, said:

“Today the Federal Court of Appeal addressed important concerns regarding the Northern Gateway Pipeline. Though the court found that the JRP recommendation was acceptable and defensible on the facts and the law and is reasonable they concluded that further Crown consultation is required.

“While the matter is remitted to the federal government for their redetermination, Northern Gateway will consult with the Aboriginal Equity Partners and our commercial project proponents to determine our next steps.

“However, the Aboriginal Equity Partners and our commercial project proponents are fully committed to building this critical Canadian infrastructure project while at the same time protecting the environment and the traditional way of life of First Nations and Métis peoples and communities along the project route.”

Statement from Greenpeace Canada:

Mike Hudema, Climate and Energy Campaigner with Greenpeace Canada, said:

“Today’s decision is an important victory for First Nations, environmental groups, and all those who care about Indigenous Rights, environmental protection and community safety. The Northern Gateway pipeline – as well other proposed pipelines – must not go forward if Canada wants to uphold its international and continental climate engagements. The ball is now in the federal government’s court, which, we hope, will stop pushing pipelines, institute its promised tanker ban, and accelerate the transition towards the clean, renewable energy that our communities and our climate so desperately need.”

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With files from Global News

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