CALGARY — A coalition of First Nations is raising funds to mount a legal challenge to the proposed oil-tanker ban on B.C.’s north coast.

The challenge is coming from the backers of the proposed Eagle Spirit pipeline, a First Nation-led project that would bring oil from Alberta to the northern West Coast.

The chiefs council leading the project say they represent more than 30 communities engaged in the pipeline project and that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s proposed ban on tankers would harm their communities.

They say the tanker ban came about because of pressure from U.S. environmental groups and is being imposed unilaterally without the consultation of key Indigenous stakeholders.

The tanker ban, introduced in parliament as Bill C-48 last May, has the support of many First Nations in B.C. including the nine members of the Coastal First Nations alliance.

The federal government announced it was going ahead with the tanker ban in Nov. 2016 at the same time as it approved the expansion of Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd.’s Trans Mountain pipeline and Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3 pipeline replacement.


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The Canadian Press