| CALGARY, Alberta, March 2
CALGARY, Alberta, March 2 The government of
Canada's main crude-producing province Alberta plans to wade
into the looming court battle over Kinder Morgan's Trans
Mountain pipeline expansion by seeking intervener status on
legal challenges to the project.
The move, flagged by the government in a speech reopening
the Alberta legislature's spring session, comes as the Federal
Court of Appeal tries to consolidate the lawsuits against the
project into one. Eleven groups are suing to block the project
because of environmental concerns.
Getting new crude oil pipelines built is a priority for the
Alberta government, which wants to secure new markets for its
oil sands output after a bruising two-year slump in crude
Without new pipelines, energy industry supporters say, oil
sands production will get bottlenecked in Alberta, driving the
discount on Canadian barrels deeper and costing producers and
the government billions of dollars in lost revenue.
"Your government will defend our province and its key
industry in court, seeking intervener status on legal challenges
to the Trans Mountain pipeline," Lois Mitchell, the Lieutenant
Governor of Alberta said in the so-called 'Throne Speech'.
Lawyers in Calgary said it would not be out of place for the
provincial governments to seek intervener status on the
In November the Canadian government approved Kinder Morgan's
plan to nearly triple its crude oil pipeline from Alberta to
Burnaby, British Columbia, to 890,000 barrels per day despite
fierce environmental, municipal and aboriginal opposition.
The green light from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet
came after a National Energy Board review process that critics
said fell short.
So far 11 separate parties, including the City of Vancouver
and the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation have filed lawsuits
challenging the cabinet decision, the NEB review, or both.
Dyna Tuytel, a lawyer for Ecojustice representing the Living
Oceans Society and Raincoast Conservation Foundation in their
lawsuit, said the court was currently taking submissions on the
draft order setting out the logistics of the consolidation.
"It means that everyone will get less court time but it
makes sense," Tuytel said. "There's a degree of overlap in the
facts if nothing else."
The Federal Court of Appeal also consolidated legal
challenges to Enbridge Inc's Northern Gateway pipeline
in 2015, which resulted in the court overturning government
approval for that project.
(Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by David Gregorio)