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

Kelowna city councillors support changes to parking bylaw

The updated bylaw passed second and third reading Tuesday night

West Kelowna mountain biker airlifted to hospital

The person suffered significant head trauma after wiping out in the Smith Creek trail system

BC Housing finds homes for remaining Airport Inn residents

BC Housing has found housing options for remaining residents if they want it

Former Kelowna Hells Angels associate could be deported, court rules

David Revell has lost his fight against deportation from Canada

New plans submitted for former Art Knapp site in Kelowna

Art Knapp was located at 1994 Springfield Road for almost 35 years

Girl power glows in Vernon STEM workshop

More than 100 students take part in STEM4Girls event

Beers on the job, smacking crotches: 10 police misconduct probes in B.C.

Recent report by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner highlights a number of investigations

Seizure of cannabis edibles, including mac-and-cheese, prompt warning from B.C. RCMP

Potato chips, cheesecake and candy infused with cannabis also seized back in August

B.C. parents sue city and province in 12-year-old daughter’s drowning at lake

Beverly Park drowned at Rotary Lake in Dawson Creek in August 2016

Limited parking drives concerns for North Okanagan housing project

Public hearing scheduled for CMHA low-income expansion project proposal

Summerland curlers begin season on the ice

League action and bonspiels to continue into March

Penticton-bound plane forced to return to Vancouver

It’s the third flight in three weeks that has been unable to land at Penticton Regional Airport.

VIDEO: Chill with polar bears through an Arctic live cam

Cam reopens just ahead of Polar Bear Week

Most Read