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Canada province to challenge Kinder Morgan pipeline

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NDP government won't permit Kinder Morgan to put shovels in ground on public land for pipeline

"We know with the federal government's approval of this project that this will be a challenge", said Environment and Climate Change Minister George Heyman on Thursday, "but we've committed to stepping up and fighting for B.C.'s interests".

The announcement adds to the potential hurdles for the Trans Mountain expansion and raises the potential for a dispute with the federal and Alberta governments, which both maintain B.C. has no right to stop the project. Until these consultations are completed in a way that meets the Province's legal obligations, work on the project on public lands can not proceed.

Protesters hold a rally at City Hall before a march against the proposed expansion of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Pipeline in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada November 19, 2016.

Under Berger's guidance, the province will also apply to have intervenor status in another legal challenge to the National Energy Board's approval now winding through the federal court.

Mr. Heyman added the province would seek "intervenor status" in a lawsuit headed to Canada's Federal Court that aims to overturn Ottawa's approval.

Premier John Horgan promised on the campaign trail earlier this year to use "every tool in the toolbox" to stop the project, but a mandate letter to the Heyman softened the language, saying instead that he must "defend B.C.'s interests in the face of" the expansion.

Ian Anderson, president of Kinder Morgan Canada Limited, said the company would work with the government to resolve its concerns.

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

Multiple First Nations and municipalities filed legal challenges against the project, which would triple the capacity for transport of diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands fields and greatly expand the Kinder Morgan marine oil shipping terminal at Burnaby, just outside Vancouver.

"This project, which was approved by the Trudeau government after lengthy review, would create thousands of jobs across British Columbia", Coleman said in a statement.

Eby said Berger's appointment should send a strong message about B.C.'s commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations.

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

It was not immediately clear where and how the B.C. government's push back ultimately will effect Kinder Morgan's construction schedule for the $7.4 billion project, set to begin September 12. Kinder Morgan Canada's stock price fell 3.6% in trading on Toronto stock market, closing the session at C$17.28.

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