Enbridge (TSE-ENB) considering next steps after court overturns approval of Northern Gateway pipeline

Canadian energy delivery company Enbridge Inc (TSE-ENB, Mkt cap 52.43B, P/E 31.37, Div/yield 0.53/3.81, EPS 1.77, Shares 929.23M) has said that it remains “fully committed” to building the C$7.9bn Northern Gateway oil pipeline after a court overturned federal approval of the project.

In a two-to-one decision announced on Thursday, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the government had failed in its duty to consult with aboriginal groups on the project. The court sent the matter back to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet for a “prompt redetermination”, Reuters reported.

The Northern Gateway pipeline was previously cleared by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government in 2014. As a result, its construction was subject to more than 200 conditions set by a regulatory review panel in December.

After the project was approved, aboriginal and environmental groups filed legal challenges and planned blockades in an effort to halt construction of the pipeline, which would carry oil from the Alberta oil sands to a port in northern British Columbia for export to Asia.

The appeal court’s 153-page judgment stated that Canada’s consultation with First Nations communities was “brief, hurried and inadequate”. It claimed that the government failed to address their concerns and had not shown any intention to correct any errors or omissions in the original regulatory panel review, Reuters said.

“Missing was a real and sustained effort to pursue meaningful two-way dialogue. Missing was someone from Canada’s side empowered to do more than take notes, someone able to respond meaningfully,” the judges wrote.

Trudeau’s cabinet is now required to meaningfully engage with First Nations about the project before a new permit can be issued.

The Prime Minister said in April that he opposed the pipeline. He has also pledged to formalize an oil tanker ban on the northern coast of British Columbia, a policy thought likely to make the pipeline unfeasible.

Enbridge (TSE-ENB) said that it was was working with partners, including aboriginal groups

Responding to the court’s decision, Enbridge said that it was was working with partners, including aboriginal groups which support the project, to determine the next steps.

Enbridge Inc is a Calgary-based energy transportation and distribution company. The Company operates in five segments: Liquids Pipelines; Gas Distribution; Gas Pipelines, Processing and Energy Services; Sponsored Investments, and Corporate. Liquids Pipelines segment owns and operates crude oil and other liquid hydrocarbons pipelines and terminals. Gas Distribution consists of the Company’s natural gas utility operations. Gas Pipelines, Processing and Energy Services segment consists of investments in natural gas pipelines, gathering and processing facilities and the Company’s energy services businesses, along with renewable energy and transmission facilities. Sponsored Investments includes the Company’s 33.7% economic interest in Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P. (EEP), and Enbridge’s interests in both the Eastern Access and Lakehead System Mainline expansion projects held through Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership (EELP). The Corporate segment includes an investment in Noverco Inc. More from Reuters »

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