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VANCOUVER — A lawyer representing British Columbia in its fight against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion says the federal cabinet’s approval of the project put Alberta’s economic needs ahead of B.C.’s concerns about oil spills.

Thomas Berger has told the Federal Court of Appeal that Ottawa also breached its statutory duty to provide reasons for deciding the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.

Outside court, Berger says the move amounts to a judge not providing reasons for a verdict.

British Columbia is an intervener in the case as is Alberta, which favours the $7.4-billion project on grounds it would create jobs and investment opportunities.

First Nations, two environmental groups and the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby are also against the pipeline expansion that the federal government approved last November.

Indigenous groups have maintained a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic would substantially increase the risks of diluted bitumen spills, with no known means of adequately cleaning it up.

The Canadian Press

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