The overturn of the National Energy Board’s approval for the expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline by the Federal Court of Appeal has sparked many reactions. Ultimately, I think this court decision is a great advancement for Indigenous rights and environmental protection. The NEB’s ruling was overturned on the grounds that the board had not taken into account the increase of tanker traffic on BC’s waters and its impact on marine life, and proper consultation with the First Nations had not taken place.
Firstly, we are in an age where responsible behaviour towards the environment is crucial. Marine life protection should have been properly considered before approving such a project. Plus, in 2018, oil is not the direction our economy should be going in. The federal government spent 4.5 billion dollars to purchase the pipeline despite the Federal Court’s ruling. If Ottawa wanted to use the capital to help the Canadian economy, it should have spent that money on developing the green energies sector of the future. It would also have helped tackle climate change, which is a very real and dangerous threat to our existence. All in all, the federal government’s decision was an irresponsible use of taxpayers’ money.
Second, we must give greater importance to the peoples of the First Nations: they were the first to live here and it is their land. The pipeline expansion would have increased the risk of an oil spill on their territory, thus endangering their environment. Such disregard of the First Nations is unacceptable.
Therefore, halting the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion was clearly the right call, and the federal government should use such a time to rethink its priorities.
Virginia Rufina Marquez-Pacheco
Science & Tech Editor
Originally Published in Bandersnatch Vol. 48 Issue 1 on September 12, 2018