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Lawsuit filed challenging federal Northern Gateway decision

The Federation of BC Naturalists (FBCN) filed a lawsuit Monday challenging the federal cabinet's decision to approve the Northern Gateway project.

The Abbotsford-Mission Nature Club is under the FBCN's umbrella, and said last month that it supported the group's intention to launch the suit, which asks the Federal Court of Appeal to declare the cabinet's June 17 decision invalid.

"In the lawsuit today, we argue that due to fundamental flaws in the Joint Review Panel's (JRP) report, Cabinet was deprived of the legal authority to make a final decision on the pipeline," said Chris Tolleson, Environmental Law Centre executive director, and BC Nature's lawyer. "Cabinet was also legally required to give reasons for its approval, which it utterly failed to do. For these and other reasons, cabinet's decision lacks a tenable legal foundation."

The province has said the project doesn't yet meet Premier Christy Clark's five conditions for new heavy oil pipelines, which include world-leading marine and land-spill protections, resolution of aboriginal concerns and a fair share of benefits for B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak has indicated the province could refuse permits for the project's construction in B.C.

The twin pipelines would carry 525,000 barrels per day of diluted bitumen from the Alberta oil sands west to Kitimat and send condensate to act as a thinning agent east to Alberta.

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