A 2014 conditional approval of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline by the previous Conservative-led Government of Canada has been overturned by the Federal Court of Appeal Thursday morning.The ruling explains that the government failed to meaningfully engage in significant dialogue with affected First Nations territories.The project has been volleyed back to the federal government's cabinet for "redetermination".The $7 billion, 1,177 km twin pipeline is proposed to be built from Bruderheim, AB to Kitimat and carry 525,000 barrels of crude oil a day to the marine terminal in Kitimat.
In May, there were reports of the federal government evaluating alternate routes, with Prince Rupert involved in the discussions as a possible end-point for the project.
Those rumours were addressed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said in May that the Great Bear Rainforest is no place for a pipeline.
A potential North Coast tanker ban is also in play, being a campaign item for the governing Liberals as well as the NDP.
Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen said in early June that the project "is sitting on death row" and is "legally and politically" dead.
Enbridge stated through a press release that support has grown from 26 to 31 communities over the past year and continues to grow.
"Today the Federal Court of Appeal addressed important concerns regarding the Northern Gateway Pipeline. Though the court found that the JRP recommendation was acceptable and defensible on the facts and the law, and is reasonable they concluded that further consultation is required," wrote John Carruthers, president of Northern Gateway in a release on Thursday.
"While the matter is remitted to the federal government for their redetermination, Northern Gateway will consult with the Aboriginal Equity Partners and our commercial project proponents to determine our next steps. However, the Aboriginal Equity Partners and our commercial project proponents are fully committed to building this critical Canadian infrastructure project while at the same time protecting the environment and the traditional way of life of First Nations and Metis peoples and communities along the project route," Carruthers added.