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"Because at the end of the day, no matter what actions they take, they need to be first and foremost grounded in meritorious legal actions".

It also says five of eight environmental management plans the company submitted as part of the province's environmental certificate requirements have failed to meet the threshold for First Nations consultation.

Those steps include hiring renowned Indigenous rights lawyer Thomas Berger, a former B.C. Supreme Court judge, as external counsel to government and announcing the province will seek intervenor status in all legal challenges against the National Energy Board's approval of the project.

"Going forward, we intend to review policies to outline how our government expects to meet all of our commitments to First Nations as well as our commitments to all British Columbians to defend our air land and water this review will clarify and develop government policies for decision-makers as they evaluate all future permits and work plans we know with the federal government's Government's approval of this project that the path forward will be challenging but we're committed to stepping up and fighting for BC's interests".

Heyman said the legal challenges to the pipeline's approval are scheduled to begin in federal court later this fall. The review goes ahead in November.

"The duty to consult aboriginal groups is based on a specific test established by the Supreme Court of Canada in Haida Nation v. BC (Minister of Forests)", Junger said in an email to Business in Vancouver. Tanker traffic will increase seven times from what it is now.

"There are a number of permits issued, but they can not be acted on until the company meets the requirements of the environmental assessment certificate that was issued by the previous government of British Columbia", Heyman said. 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 meets these legal obligations, work on this project on public land can not proceed", he said.

Not all First Nations in B.C. are opposed to the project.

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project would twin an existing pipeline along a 1,150-kilometre route from Alberta to Burnaby and increase the company's tanker traffic sevenfold.

Provided the federal court grants the government intervener status, the government plans to argue that consultations with First Nations have not been adequate.

Instead the government could ensure permits require that construction be done in a manner that cuts the risk of spills, protects the environment, and ensures effective cleanup, Eby said.

"We are committed to working with the province and permitting authorities in our ongoing process of seeking and obtaining necessary permits and permissions", said Ian Anderson, president of Kinder Morgan Canada Limited, in the statement.

"We have undertaken thorough, extensive and meaningful consultations with Aboriginal Peoples, communities and individuals and remain dedicated to those efforts and relationships".