Legal Action on Proposed Pipeline Expansion in Orca Critical Habitat
Although Canada recently took steps to stop the construction of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline through British Columbia (BC), last month they approved a different proposed pipeline expansion from Kinder Morgan. The Trans Mountain pipeline would significantly increase shipping traffic and underwater noise within critical habitat for the endangered Southern Resident orca community, in addition to the potential habitat and ecosystem effects of pipeline construction and the increase in risk of a major oil spill.
Several legal challenges to the National Energy Board’s recommendation to allow the pipeline expansion to proceed have already been filed, including one from environmental groups concerning the Southern Resident orcas and their habitat. This unique orca population is down to just 83 members and is threatened by vessel effects (noise, traffic, and harassment), toxic pollution, and prey depletion.