July 26, 2017 / 2:21 PM / 5 months ago

Canada's top court finds aboriginals consulted on Enbridge pipeline

OTTAWA, July 26 (Reuters) - Canada’s top court ruled on Wednesday that aboriginals were adequately consulted on changes to an Enbridge Inc oil pipeline, dismissing an attempt to quash the national energy regulator’s approval of the project.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in a unanimous decision that the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation were given early notice of hearings on changes to Enbridge’s Line 9 oil pipeline, which runs between Sarnia, Ontario, and Montreal, through what the Chippewas regard as their traditional territory.

The First Nations group was also aware that the National Energy Board (NEB) was the final decision maker, the court found.

“Even taking the strength of the Chippewas’ claim and the seriousness of the potential impact on the claimed rights at their highest, the consultation undertaken in this case was manifestly adequate,” the court wrote.

The Chippewas of the Thames First Nation had argued it was not adequately consulted about changes Enbridge sought in 2012, which would increase the pipeline’s capacity to 300,000 barrels a day and reverse the flow of oil in a section of the line.

The country’s energy regulator, the National Energy Board (NEB), approved the application and the pipeline currently operates this way. (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Bill Rigby)

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