Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Northern Gateway Approved, but Far from Built

No Pipelines, No Tankers, No Tar Sands (Credit: Travis Blanston/Flickr) Click to enlarge.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper conditionally approved the Northern Gateway Pipeline Tuesday, a major hurdle for the 731-mile twin pipeline system that will carry tar sands oil from Alberta to the west coast of Canada.

The approval is contingent on Enbridge meeting the 209 conditions for the pipeline — some of which addressed environmental concerns but none of which addressed climate change — set forth by the National Energy Board in December.  If Enbridge meets those conditions, Northern Gateway will transport up to 525,000 barrels of oil per day from Edmonton, Alberta to Kitimat, British Columbia.

The Canadian government singled out discussions with First Nations as one of the major conditions that Enbridge needs to meet for the pipeline to be built.

“Consultations with Aboriginal communities are required under many of the 209 conditions that have been established and as part of the process for regulatory authorizations and permits,” a federal release states.  “The proponent clearly has more work to do in order to fulfill the public commitment it has made to engage with Aboriginal groups and local communities along the route.”

Nikki Skuce, Senior Energy Campaigner at ForestEthics, said Harper’s approval doesn’t mean the Northern Gateway is a done deal.  ForestEthics and other groups — along with a majority of B.C. residents who say they want the pipeline either rejected or delayed for further review — will continue to oppose the pipeline.  ForestEthics has launched a legal challenge to the National Energy Board’s December recommendation that the project be approved — a challenge that’s one of five of its kind, she said.  It’s also pushing conservative members of B.C.’s government to reject Northern Gateway and pushing B.C. Premiere Christy Clark to refuse to grant permits to Enbridge if it doesn’t meet the five conditions she laid out in 2012.

Northern Gateway Approved, but Far from Built

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