First Nations and environmental groups are asking the courts to quash the report by the Joint Review Panel (Panel) for Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline project or to order the reopening of the review and reconsideration of the Panel’s findings. The legal challenges follow the Panel’s December 19, 2013 recommendation to the federal Government to approve the project, subject to 209 conditions. Opponents claim the Panel made errors in law and ignored key environmental considerations. They also claim the Crown failed to ensure that Aboriginal communities were fully consulted. Regardless of the outcome of the appeals, the challenges underscore the need to clarify Aboriginal consultation procedures.
Joint Review Panel Recommendation
After 180 days of public hearings, the Panel found that the Northern Gateway Project, if built and operated in compliance with the conditions set out in its report, would be “in the public interest.” Federal Cabinet has 180 days following submission of the Panel report to make a decision on the project and order the National Energy Board to issue certificates for the project or to dismiss the application.
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