​B.C. joins legal battles against Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

VANCOUVER _ The British Columbia government wants to join the legal fight against the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

The province's NDP government has hired former judge Thomas Berger to provide legal advice to the government as it seeks intervener status in legal challenges to the federal government's approval of the pipeline expansion.

The NDP has opposed the expansion of the pipeline, which received the blessing of the province's former Liberal government earlier this year.

Premier John Horgan promised in the provincial election this spring to use “every tool in the toolbox” to stop the $7.4-billion project by Trans Mountain, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan Canada.

Several First Nations and municipalities have filed legal challenges against the expansion, which would triple the capacity of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline and increase the number of tankers in Vancouver-area waters seven-fold.

Trans Mountain has said construction on the project is set to begin in September, but Environment Minister George Heyman says only three of eight environmental management plans that would allow work to begin have been accepted and it is unlikely those remaining will get approval before work was to start.

He says the other five management plans have not been accepted because the company didn't adequately consult First Nations and until that is done Trans Mountain cannot begin construction on public land.

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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