Northern Gateway will not appeal Federal Court of Appeal decision that reversed project approval

Northern Gateway president John Carruthers announced Tuesday that proponents of the $7.9 billion project would not appeal a recent Federal Court of Appeal decision that overturned Ottawa's approval of the controversial pipeline.

Back in June, a majority ruling that was signed by two of the three judges on the Appeal Court panel stated: "We find that Canada offered only a brief, hurried and inadequate opportunity … to exchange and discuss information and to dialogue.”

Specifically, the court found that despite the fact that the National Energy Board approved the plan subject to 209 conditions, the former Harper government failed to adequately consult with Indigenous peoples who will be affected by the pipeline.

In today’s announcement, Carruthers said that Northern Gateway supports the path outlined by the Federal Court of Appeal for the Federal Government to re-engage with directly affected First Nations and Métis communities to ensure thorough consultation is undertaken.

"We believe that meaningful consultation and collaboration, and not litigation, is the best path forward for everyone involved," he wrote in a statement.

Carruthers added that Northern Gateway, its Aboriginal Equity Partners, and its commercial project proponents remain committed to building the pipeline, which would carry 525,000 barrels a day of crude from Alberta oilsands to Kitimat, B.C. for shipment to Asia.  

Source: Northern Gateway.

Northern Gateway proposed route. Source: Northern Gateway.

The release also included comments from Northern Gateway’s Aboriginal Equity Partners, who would receive $2 billion in economic and business opportunities if the project moves ahead. "Our communities need the economic and business benefits that Northern Gateway can bring. We are focused on ensuring our communities benefit from this project and are actively involved in its decision making so we can protect both the environment and our traditional way of life through direct environmental stewardship and monitoring," they wrote.

According to the CBC, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr has until Thursday to decide on how to respond to this recent development. Among his options are:

  • Appeal the decision
  • Launch a new consultation process, which would require the NEB to review the project one more time
  • Let the decision stand and kill the pipeline

Northern Gateway has faced heated opposition for the past 12 years, particularly from environmental groups, local communities, and the Gitxaala, Haisla, Gitga’at, Kitasoo Xai’Xais, Heiltsuk, Nadleh Whut’en, Nak’azsli Whut’en, and Haida Indigenous groups.

The fact that the Trudeau government issued a mandate letter calling for a moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic for B.C.'s North Coast also affects the pipeline chances of getting built.