The new NDP government in B.C.is looking to fight the Trans Mountain pipeline project.
"We are committed to fighting for B.C.'s interests and it is government's desire to seek intervenor status in legal challenges to federal approval of the pipeline expansion and increased oil tanker traffic off B.C.'s coast", said Eby.
"We will use every tool to defend BC's coast in the face of this threat".
Heyman said the legal challenges to the pipeline's approval are scheduled to begin in federal court later this fall.
At the root of the conflict is the ministry's overall opposition to the project because it will increase by seven times tanker traffic in the Salish Sea - the saltwater between the USA and Canada, including Puget Sound. No trial date has been set in that case. In particular, that duty must be fulfilled as consultation relates to environmental assessment certificate (EAC) requirements. He has a history of representing Indigenous interests in court, having been involved in the landmark 1973 Calder case that paved the way for Aboriginal land right claims. He went on to lead three federal royal commissions, including one on the MacKenzie Valley Pipeline (1974-77) and another on Indian and Inuit healthcare (1979-80). The two parties under the same banner, quarreled during the BC election with Rachel Notley and her New Democrats supporting the project, saying the BC NDP doesn't have the power to stop construction.
"Until these consultations are completed in a way that that meets these legal obligations, work on this project on public land can not proceed", he said.
BC seeks intervenor status in legal challenges to Trans Mountain Pipeline
Not all First Nations in B.C. are opposed to the project.
In a press release, Kinder Morgan said it was taking seriously the comments from Eby and Heyman and will review them. Since then he has done a lot of work with First Nations. "We have undertaken thorough, extensive and meaningful consultations with Aboriginal peoples, communities, and individuals, and remain dedicated to those efforts and relationships as we move forward with construction activities in September".
The company has projected 15,000 construction jobs will be created as the project proceeds. "That is what drove us in the choices we made and we will stand by those choices".
Meanwhile, B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver has highlighted the government's actions in a fundraising email sent out this afternoon. "British Columbians should be rightly concerned that their government is spending tax dollars to stop a project that will not only boost our local economies but also benefit the rest of our country".
Specifically, Berger has been tasked with overseeing the province's response to a lawsuit from the Squamish Nation challenging the environmental certificate the previous Liberal government granted for the project in January.