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End of the road for Trans-Mountain lawsuits

The Supreme Court of Canada has declined to hear a new appeal from British Columbia First Nations over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

The court on Thursday dismissed the appeal from the Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation, the Ts’elxweyeqw Tribes and Coldwater Indian Band, effectively ending the years-long legal battle over the project.

The Trans Mountain project was first approved in 2016, but stopped by the Federal Court of Appeal two years later after First Nations and environmental groups successfully argued the approval process was flawed.

Ottawa approved the project a second time in June 2019 after undergoing additional consultation with the affected communities, but the bands still felt the government did not fulfil its duty to consult and again appealed the decision.

The Federal Court of Appeal ruled in February the approval would stand, saying the government had made a genuine effort to hear and accommodate concerns raised. But the First Nations disagreed and asked the Supreme Court to hear the case.

This would appear to be the last stop in the judicial process.

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