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UPDATE 1-Canadian court allows new challenges to Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion

Rod Nickel

expansion@ (Adds background on project)

Sept 4 (Reuters) - Canada's Federal Court of Appeal on Wednesday agreed to hear six challenges to the Canadian government's earlier approval of an expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline, potentially adding to delays ahead of an October election.

In a ruling posted on its website, the court said the six challenges relate to the adequacy of the government's consultations with indigenous groups, and that they must proceed on strict, short deadlines.

The decision marks the second time in just over a year that Trans Mountain has run into legal obstacles.

The project, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government bought last year, is one of several pipeline projects Canada's oil industry says are badly needed to allow Canadian crude to reach higher-paying refiners in the United States and Asia.

The six challenges allowed by the court, out of 12 requested by the project's opponents, all relate to whether indigenous groups were fully consulted about the project, since the government's previous approval was quashed in August 2018.

That decision led to the government conducting a new round of consultations before re-approving the project in June. (Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien and Tom Brown)