FILE – Supporters of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and who oppose the Coastal Gaslink pipeline set up a support station at kilometre 39, just outside of Gidimt’en checkpoint near Houston B.C., on Wednesday January 8, 2020. The Wet’suwet’en peoples are occupying their land and trying to prevent a pipeline from going through it. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

FILE – Supporters of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and who oppose the Coastal Gaslink pipeline set up a support station at kilometre 39, just outside of Gidimt’en checkpoint near Houston B.C., on Wednesday January 8, 2020. The Wet’suwet’en peoples are occupying their land and trying to prevent a pipeline from going through it. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

B.C. Supreme Court rejects Wet’suwet’en bid to toss LNG pipeline certificate

Opposition last year by Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs set off Canada-wide rail blockades

The British Columbia Supreme Court has rejected a bid to quash the extension of the environmental assessment certificate for the natural gas pipeline at the centre of countrywide protests in February last year.

The Office of the Wet’suwet’en, a society governed by several hereditary chiefs, asked the court to send the certificate for the Coastal GasLink pipeline back to B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office for further review.

Their lawyers argued in part that the office did not meaningfully address the findings of the 2019 report from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls when it approved the extension.

They said Coastal GasLink’s plan to mitigate potential socio-economic effects of the pipeline project did not address harms identified by the inquiry, which heard evidence linking the influx of temporary labourers for such projects with escalating gender-based violence.

Justice Barbara Norell disagreed, saying it’s clear from an evaluation report that the assessment office did consider the national inquiry’s report, and requested the company consider how such harms would be addressed.

She says in a decision released last week the assessment office also asked Coastal GasLink to consider how Indigenous nations would be engaged in identifying and monitoring potential social impacts of the pipeline project.

“These comments do not indicate a failure or refusal of the (assessment office) to consider the inquiry report, but the opposite,” she says.

Opposition last year by Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs over the pipeline being built in their territory in northwestern B.C. set off Canada-wide rail blockades by their supporters that stalled parts of the country’s economy.

The chiefs’ lawyers argued Coastal GasLink’s zero-tolerance policies for harassment and the possession of firearms, drugs and alcohol are focused on work camps, while the harms outlined by inquiry were not so limited.

Norell found the chiefs’ argument “leads to the conclusion that nothing short of a gender-based impact assessment conducted by the (Environmental Assessment Office) … would be reasonable.”

But to establish that a decision was unreasonable, the petitioner must do more than allege a better analysis could have been undertaken, Norell says.

“I want to emphasize that this decision should not be taken as in any way diminishing the importance of the inquiry report,” Norell adds.

The executive director of B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office granted Coastal GasLink an extension in October 2019, nearly five years after a certificate was first issued for the 670-kilometre natural gas pipeline.

Lawyers for the Office of the Wet’suwet’en argued the office’s records of the decision to extend the certificate also failed to address what they claimed was a track record of non-compliance by the company.

Norell disagreed, saying the office’s evaluation report addressed both the frequency and nature of instances of non-compliance, and the company had either rectified or was in the process of rectifying those issues.

Hereditary chiefs with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en have opposed Coastal GasLink’s project, while five elected Wet’suwet’en band councils signed agreements approving construction that’s currently underway.

ALSO READ: Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Lake Babine Nation get provincial funding for land, title rights

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Brenna Owen, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coastal GasLinkIndigenous

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

FILE PHOTO
Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

Greg Nesteroff and Eric Brighton, the historians behind popular Facebook page Lost Kootenays, are set to release a book of the same name and have just unveiled its cover showing the ghostly Hotel in Slocan City shortly before its 1953 demolition. Photo courtesy of Greg Nesteroff and Eric Brighton.
Popular historical Facebook page Lost Kootenays set to release book

128-page hard copy documenting history of East and West Kootenays coming this fall

Paul Chung is working as an early childhood educator at Cornerstone Children’s Centre in Nelson. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Immigration pilot targets hard-to-fill jobs in West Kootenay

Program helps newcomers get permanent residency status in rural areas

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is an independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s 1st vaccine-induced blood clot case detected in Interior Health

Interior Health also recorded 52 new cases of COVID-19

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Junior A team Coquitlam Express is offering all Tri-City residents who get vaccinated against COVID-19 a free ticket to one of their games. (Facebook/Coquitlam Express)
B.C. hockey team offering free tickets to hometown fans who get the COVID-19 vaccine

‘We know the only way to get fans back is people getting vaccinated,’ says Express’ general manager Tali Campbell

Most Read