​First Nations, environment groups say latest energy board pipeline review flawed

VANCOUVER — Indigenous leaders in British Columbia are threatening future court challenges of the National Energy Board's review of the marine shipping effects of an expanded Trans Mountain pipeline.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, says the project is a “stinker'' that will worsen climate change, which is already contributing to devastating wildfires and flooding in the province.

The Federal Court of Appeal ruled in August that the energy board failed to examine the project's impacts on the marine environment, including B.C.'s endangered southern resident killer whales, and the federal government ordered the board to reconsider that part of the process by Feb. 22.

Eugene Kung of West Coast Environmental Law says the review is rushed and too limited in scope, as it only covers up to 12 nautical miles off the B.C. coastline, and is likely to prompt fresh court challenges from the project's opponents.

Kung says the National Energy Board seems to have learned nothing from the court ruling and is repeating many of the same errors that landed it in court the last time.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government has purchased the existing pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion, and Phillip accused Trudeau of lacking a conscience or any concern for future generations of Canadians.

© 2018 The Canadian Press