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Supreme Court refuses to hear pipeline challenge involving Vancouver-Burnaby chapter activist

Eric DohertyThe Vancouver Sun reports, “The Supreme Court of Canada has refused to hear a legal challenge by residents banned from the National Energy Board’s deliberations on Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline in Burnaby. …As is its custom, the Supreme Court did not give a reason for denying a legal challenge.”

The article explains, “The NEB earlier ruled that 468 Burnaby residents are not directly affected and banned from participating in the NEB’s deliberations. Residents filed a constitutional challenge arguing it was a restriction of their constitutional rights. A number of environmental groups and politicians acted as interveners in the case, including the Sierra Club of Canada, the Council of Canadians, NDP MP Kennedy Stewart and Green party Leader Elizabeth May.”

One of the individuals who had sought to challenge the NEB decision at the Supreme Court is Council of Canadians Vancouver-Burnaby chapter activist Eric Doherty. He is a former Canadian Coast Guard marine engineer turned environmental planner and activist.

Last year, the Vancouver Observer noted, “Of the 2,000 people who applied to the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion hearings, 468 people were rejected outright, while another 452 people were downgraded so that they could only submit a letter of comment. The NEB also stated that topics such as climate change and oil sands expansion should not be covered during the hearings.”

And the Canadian Press highlighted, “The group contends that legislative changes made [by the Harper government in its C-38 omnibus bill] in 2012 unfairly restrict public participation in the pipeline debate, violating the charter right to freedom of expression.”

The Council of Canadians is opposed to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Texas-based Kinder Morgan is proposing to twin the Trans Mountain pipeline from northern Alberta to the British Columbia coast to increase the pipeline’s capacity from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day. This project would mean adding 980 kilometres of new pipeline alongside the existing 60-year-old 1,150 kilometres of pipeline. It would produce 270 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over a 35-year period.

Further reading
Council Chapter Activist Eric Doherty joins legal case against NEB over Kinder Morgan Pipeline Expansion (May 2014 blog by Leila Darwish)
Vancouver-Burnaby chapter activist seeks Supreme Court hearing on Trans Mountain pipeline (March 2015 blog)

Photo: Council of Canadians Vancouver-Burnaby chapter activist Eric Doherty