Enbridge pipeline approved, with 209 conditions

Federal panel recommends Enbridge's Northern Gateway crude oil pipeline can proceed if 209 conditions are met

Northern B.C. is the site of several pipeline proposals

A federal environmental review panel has recommended Enbridge’s Northern Gateway crude oil pipeline can proceed if 209 conditions are met.

After months of submissions from experts and the public, the National Energy Board Joint Review Panel concluded the benefits of a twin pipeline from northern Alberta to a proposed tanker facility at Kitimat outweigh the risks. Its two-volume report was released Thursday in Calgary.

“The environmental, societal and economic burdens of a large oil spill, while unlikely and not permanent, would be significant,” the panel concluded in its report. “Through our conditions we require Northern Gateway to implement appropriate and effective spill prevention measures and spill response capabilities, so that the likelihood and consequences of a large spill would be minimized.”

The panel said there would be significant effect on some populations of woodland caribou and grizzly bear, and uncertainty remains over the effectiveness of Enbridge’s plans to minimize the disruption the pipeline would cause.

“It is our view that, after mitigation, the likelihood of significant adverse environmental effects resulting from project malfunctions or accidents is very low,” the report states.

Conditions include protection plans for whales and other marine mammals, measures to protect caribou and other land animals and development of methods to track and deal with diluted bitumen spills.

Federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver reiterated his position that “no energy project will be approved unless it is safe for Canadians and safe for the environment.” The federal cabinet must make a final decision on federal permits for the project by July 2014.

B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak said approval by the federal panel meets one of its five conditions, but doesn’t change the province’s position against the pipeline until its other four are met. They include satisfying legal obligations to consult and accommodate aboriginal communities and developing “world leading” safety and spill response on land and at sea.

“Now we have Alberta’s agreement for the five conditions, the federal government is talking about the importance of weighing the environment in the balance, and even Enbridge is talking about the importance of the environment in this equation,” Polak said. We believe we’ve made progress in highlighting the very important steps that are going to need to be taken … but we need to see evidence that this work is going to be achieved.”

Janet Holder, Enbridge’s project leader for Northern Gateway, said the company will work to meet the federal panel conditions, and those laid down by the B.C. government.

Northern Gateway has reached equity partnership agreements with 26 aboriginal communities along the pipeline route, but many others remain opposed.

“The Yinka Dene Alliance has clearly refused permission for Enbridge’s pipelines to cut through our lands and waters,” said Chief Martin Louie of the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation, speaking on behalf of the northern B.C.-based alliance.

 

Just Posted

Cache Creek council votes to rejoin local transit system

Details need to be worked out, but hopes are that change can be expedited

Ashcroft residents get information at Community Forum

Water treatment plant, recycling, an Eco-Depot, the budget, and more among items addressed

Elizabeth May’s wedding will be a ‘low-carbon affair’ in Victoria on Earth Day

Green party leader’s wedding party to depart in a cavalcade of electric cars

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Man airlifted to hospital after apparent hunting incident in East Kootenay

The man was in stable condition when he was flown out of Fairmont Hot Springs to a Calgary hospital

Police probe eight fires set at B.C. elementary school

Nanaimo RCMP say fires appear to have been set intentionally

Most Read