The expansion project is meant to bring a new, parallel pipe to the existing one. The Squamish Nation called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to abandon the proposed expansion. "It is time for Prime Minister Trudeau to do the right thing and stand by his words".
That call was echoed by the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC).
Reuben George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, which borders the Burrard Inlet, said the Indigenous coalition that has spent years in court challenges have won "a David and Goliath fight". First Nations also have adamantly opposed construction of the project through their territories. "The duty to consult was not adequately discharged". The court said there was no "meaningful two-way dialogue". Very few responses were provided by Canada's representatives in the consultation meetings ... "More was required of Canada".
"Meaningful consultation is not intended simply to allow indigenous peoples "to blow off steam", the decision said". "They've committed billions of dollars in taxpayers' funds doubling down on a project that the courts have just quashed".
In a unanimous decision by a panel of three judges, the court said the National Energy Board's review of the project was so flawed that the federal government could not rely on it as a basis for its decision to approve the expansion.
"The unjustified exclusion of marine shipping from the scope of the project led to successive, unacceptable deficiencies in the [NEB's] report and recommendations".
That exclusion made the NEB report unreliable for the government when assessing the project, the court found. "There's a whole host of issues that the federal government and our government agree on".
McLeod said most Indigenous groups in her riding support the project, with community benefits agreements in place and employment opportunities on the table.
"We'll see what the federal government decides to do", he said. "Things are unpredictable at this stage". Instead, he had expected joining other First Nations representatives to speak on "the need to carry on the battle".
Premier John Horgan said: "This case has always been about First Nations rights" in a press conference.
Canada's National Energy Board board recommended approval of the project, even as it acknowledged it would set back recovery of southern resident killer whales, a protected species in Canada.
The pipeline would run for more than 700 miles - alongside a line that has been in service since 1954 - and would move 890,000 barrels a day from Alberta tar-sands deposits to the coast.
That failure "was so critical that the Governor in Council could not functionally make the kind of assessment of the project's environmental effects and the public interest that the (environmental assessment) legislation requires", says the ruling written by Justice Eleanor Dawson.
"The court decision was not a condition of the transaction between KML and the federal government", said president Ian Anderson in a statement.
The decision is likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada either way, Hoberg predicted, and another 18 months to two years will pass before it's settled.
The proposed expansion would almost triple the flow capacity through the Canadian mainline pipeline so that oil could be exported from British Columbia to California and Asia.