September 17th, 2019, North Vancouver, BC — Today, the Squamish Nation is celebrating the BC Court of Appeal’s decision on the Provincial Environmental Assessment Certificate for the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) Project. The Court ruled in favour of the Squamish Nation, given that the BC Environmental Assessment Office relied on the fundamentally flawed National Energy Board Report as its own Environmental Assessment Report in issuing its Certificate.
The Courts have directed the Province to reconsider the Environmental Assessment decision “in light of the changes to the original report of the National Energy Board as set out in its reconsideration report.”
“The Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the original NEB report was so flawed that it doesn’t legally constitute a report, so it only makes sense that a Provincial Environmental Assessment Certificate issued based on that fatally flawed report would have to be revisited. Ideally, the BC Government would have come to that conclusion on its own, but we’re nonetheless pleased that the Court sided with the Squamish Nation in its
decision to send this matter back to Cabinet,” said Khelsilem, Squamish Nation Councillor and Spokesperson.
The Provincial government must now heed the Court’s decision and start the review process over again before a Provincial Environmental Assessment Certificate can be issued. The Province of British Columbia needs to conduct a comprehensive environmental review of the TMX Project
with the revised Environmental Assessment Act.
Squamish expects that the Province will consult extensively and deeply with Squamish Nation in respect of this reconsideration, given the very significant Aboriginal rights and title interests that stand to be impacted.
“Premier Horgan and his government need to set the bar higher and rethink their approach to the TMX Project, and truly respect Indigenous rights by jointly reviewing with the Squamish Nation and other concerned First Nations whose territories would be directly impacted by the pipeline expansion. There’s a lot of talk of reconciliation at the provincial level, and this is a critical opportunity for the province to put its words into action,” said Khelsilem.
The TMX Project poses significant risks to the Nation’s unceded territory, the community’s reliance on healthy marine and aquatic environments, and to the existence of the southern resident killer whale—a species of cultural importance to the Nation that is recognized to be
in a critical state.
The Squamish Nation remains deeply committed to holding the Provincial and Federal governments to respecting and upholding Indigenous rights.
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