The federal government’s re-approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline never meant the project would continue seamlessly.
In what will be the newest legal challenge, environmental advocacy group Ecojustice, filed its motion in the Federal Court of Appeal on Monday morning.
The group hopes the existential threat posed to Southern Resident killer whales will force the federal government to reconsider its decision to expand its pipeline.
Ecojustice, which has filed a suit on behalf of Raincoast Conservation Foundation and Living Oceans Society, may be getting a second round in the ring with Canadian authorities. The group was implicated in the August 2018 decision that impeded approval of the pipeline.
To get the project re-confirmed, the federal government followed through with demands to meet with First Nations communities, and received new conditions from the National Energy Board (NEB) after the federal court struck down the regulator’s approval of the project.
However, Ecojustice claims Canada still hasn’t respected the threat a pipeline would pose to the marine life of North America.
According to the group, there are only 76 Southern Resident killer whales remaining. The re-approval failed to account for a possible impact on the lives of these animals, a motion in violation of the Species at Risk Act.
Indeed, in the NEB report, the authors recognized that “Project-related marine shipping is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects on the Southern resident killer whale.”
Yet, the report concluded that these damages “can be justified in the circumstances, in light of the considerable benefits of the Project and measures to minimize the effects.”
Outside of these highly social oceanic mammals, Ecojustice will be raising climate concerns relating to the emissions promised by increased oil sales and extraction.
“We simply can’t afford to build a project that will increase emissions at precisely the moment the science says we need to dramatically reduce our carbon footprint to avoid climate breakdown,” Margot Vernon, Ecojustice program director, added in a comment to CTV News.
Notwithstanding, Ecojustice hopes to concentrate their efforts on the question of a species’ extinction, hoping that a group of salmon-eating orcas living in the Salish sea can stop a $4.5 billion pipeline.