BC Environment Minister says former Libs would have had to pause Trans Mt. too

   BC's Environment Minister says an announcement putting the brakes on Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion was sparked by information from the Environmental Assessment office -- and maintains the former Liberal government would have had to do the same thing.

   George Heyman says with Kinder Morgan saying it would begin it's controversial project on September 12th, the independent environment office told the NDP government that over half of the conditions for the project have still not been met, therefore could not be allowed to proceed. 

    Heyman says the Liberals issued an environmental assessment certificate for the 7.4-billion dollar project earlier this year based on a National Energy Board Review, despite the fact they had spent years criticizing it as closed, secretive and inadequate.

   But for that certificate to be activated all 8 management conditions must be met.  Five are still outstanding, including proper consultation with First Nations.

"The Environment Assessment Office informed me a couple of weeks ago that they don't believe that the First Nations consultation that has been done to date meets what they would consider a reasonable test of British Columbia's legal obligations. These are obligations the courts have outlined, as you know, in a couple of different court cases.  So we have that responsibility as government. "

    Heyman says the fact is, Kinder Morgan has work to do:

   "Until we believe that First Nations consultation has been adequate, those certificates -- and it's actually not us, it's the Environmental Assessment Office -- won't accept the management plans." 

    Heyman says other conditions not yet met involve grizzlies, vegetation and weed management, archeology, and the cold water aquifer.

   The B-C government has also hired renowned Thomas Berger as special legal counsel and will seek intervener status in the court challenge against federal approval for the project.

     Berger has been involved in ensuring industrial development on Indigenous lands resulted in benefits to them.  He also served as the Royal Commissioner of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry in 1977. Berger was also leader of the B.C. New Democratic Party prior to Dave Barrett in 1969.

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