VANCOUVER - A pair of environmental groups are asking the courts to quash a recommendation that the federal government allow the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project to go ahead.

Lawyers for the Living Oceans Society and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation say they have filed a judicial review of the National Energy Board's recommendation, arguing that it is unlawful.

They say the NEB did not take into account the impact the $6.8-billion project would have on Southern Resident killer whales and their habitat.

Trans Mountain wants to triple the capacity of its existing pipeline from the oilsands near Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C., increasing the number of tanker ships in the area seven-fold.

Lawyer Dyna Tuytel says in a release that the NEB's report failed to consider the harm tanker traffic noise would cause the whales and the impact the massive ships could have on the prey the animals eat.

Last week, the Squamish Nation launched its own judicial review of the board's recommendation, arguing the NEB did not fulfil its obligation to consult with the First Nation about the project.