October 3, 2018 6:14 pm

B.C. government has registered as intervener in NEB’s reconsideration of Trans Mountain project

WATCH: Federal government won't appeal Trans Mountain ruling

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The B.C. government has filed to have intervener status as the National Energy Board (NEB) gets set to reconsider aspects of its recommendation report on the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project.

Last month, the federal government announced the NEB would take conduct a review specifically focused on the marine impact of the expansion. The review must be done by mid-February 2019.

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“Of course we have an important role to play in pointing out what we believe the impacts are, what we believe the science says about the behaviour of heavy oil, the best ways to prevent a spill, the best way to clean one up if one happens,” said B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman.

“Our job is to defend B.C.’s interests. To do a good job and an aggressive job doing that.

READ MORE: Liberals won’t appeal Trans Mountain ruling, name former justice to oversee new Indigenous consultations

“When the Federal Court of Appeal found a failure to consider the risks of marine tanker traffic resulting from the project, and that consultation with First Nations was inadequate, the concerns we’ve consistently raised were validated.”

In August, the Federal Court of Appeal halted the federal government’s plan to construct the pipeline expansion, which will triple the capacity of an existing pipeline to carry crude oil to Burnaby.

READ MORE: Notley not happy with ‘jaw-dropping hypocrisy’ after feds announce no Trans Mountain appeal

The court ruling flagged two major issues with the project: first, that the initial approval by the NEB was fundamentally flawed for not considering the impact of the expansion and increased tanker traffic on marine ecosystems and second, that the current federal Liberal government failed in its duty to consult adequately with Indigenous communities during the latest Phase-three round of talks.

WATCH: Andrew Scheer shares his plan to get the Trans Mountain pipeline built

As an intervener, the B.C. government will advocate for a process that will seek consultation for communities and Indigenous groups, provide opportunities for all citizens to be heard and demand thorough answers from the federal government as the new owner of the project.

Heyman says he doesn’t believe that advocacy can be done during before the deadline in 22 weeks.

READ MORE: Scott Thompson: Why LNG but not Trans Mountain pipeline?

“I think the federal government should not have predetermined the amount of time the NEB should take. It is important the process is thorough, it is important there is time for cross-examination,” said Heyman.

“B.C. is concerned that the 22-week time frame is insufficient to accommodate a thorough review.”

The federal Liberals announced on Wednesday that the government will not appeal a court ruling that found they failed to adequately consult with Indigenous stakeholders on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

READ MORE: Want a say on the impact of Trans Mountain tanker traffic? National Energy Board to hold public hearing

Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi made the announcement in Ottawa and told reporters the government will redo consultations with all 117 Indigenous groups affected by the project.

Former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci has also been appointed to oversee these new consultations.

–with files from Amanda Connolly

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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