The provincial government will appear before the National Energy Board (NEB) on constitutional issues relating to Trans Mountain work at the Burnaby and Westridge marine terminals.
Trans Mountain is asking the NEB to approve commencement of terminal work, notwithstanding that Trans Mountain has not obtained preliminary plan approvals under Burnaby’s zoning bylaw or a tree-cutting permit under Burnaby’s tree bylaw, as currently required by conditions on federal approvals of the project.
“While this is a direct matter between the company and the City of Burnaby, the constitutional issues raised may result in restricting B.C.’s involvement in defending provincial interests in the future,” said Attorney General David Eby. “That is why we have advised the NEB that the Province of B.C. will be participating in this hearing.”
Thomas Berger, QC, on behalf of the government, has asked the NEB to dismiss outright Trans Mountain’s suggestion of abridged timelines for future applications by Trans Mountain to challenge decisions of municipalities and the Province in relation to permits for the project. This position is taken to ensure the Province has adequate opportunity to defend its decisions in the future.
“We have been clear and consistent that we will use every tool available to defend B.C.’s coast, and that is what we’re doing,” said Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister George Heyman. “Our first step was to appear as interveners in the Federal Court of Appeal hearing. We’ve also passed initial regulations to increase responsibility, transparency and accountability for those who move potentially dangerous liquid petroleum products through our province. We will continue to explore other legal ways to defend the interests of British Columbians against this damaging project.”
A date for the NEB hearing has not yet been set.