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First Nations challenge of Enbridge approval in court
Photo Courtesy Chief Bob Chamberlin

First Nations challenge of Enbridge approval in court

The Federal Court of Appeal in Vancouver is the scene of a legal fight over the approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline today.

Eight First Nations opposed to the pipeline say the Joint Review Panel process didn’t consider key issues for aboriginals or the environment.

Lawyers will argue that the federal government acted unconstitutionally when it approved the massive tanker and pipeline project.

Northern Gateway officials say the 180 days of hearings for the project were among the most exhaustive in the history of Canada.

Haida Nation President Peter Lantin says the federal government has mismanaged the Enbridge file from the beginning, adding the Haida believe Ottawa shirked its responsibilities to First Nations in pursuit of corporate deals.

“We are confident that our legal arguments will result in a positive decision by the court,” said Chief Marilyn Slett of the Heiltsuk First Nation. “We are committed to taking all lawful steps necessary to defend our lands and waters from tar sands oil. The Heiltsuk believe there are thousands of British Columbians and Canadians who feel the same way, and who stand with us. Together we will stop the Northern Gateway project.”

More legal challenges from four environmental groups and Canada’s largest private sector union will be heard next week.

About Bill Fee

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