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

Needles killer frightened many in our town: BC author

Roy Bugera disrupted life in a quiet Vancouver Island village before moving to Arrow Lakes

Video: MP hears pot, pipeline and politics concerns

South Okanagan-West Kootenay MP hosts town hall forum in Penticton

Health Minister says coming changes will make difference in rural communities.

“As a government, Premier Horgan is committed to improving the ambulance service.”

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Most people in B.C. too ‘lazy,’ ‘apathetic’ to prepare for disasters: poll

Less than half of those surveyed aren’t insured for earthquakes and wildfires

Chris Hemsworth goes surfing in Tofino

The Australian actor donned a full body wetsuit to catch some waves on Vancouver Island this weekend

B.C. hospitals receive boost for dental surgery

Disabled people needing general anesthetic wait too long, Adrian Dix says

BCHL Today: Wenatchee Wild on the ropes and Smoke Eaters reeling

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

A frustrated Trump lashes out at special counsel Mueller

In a series of weekend tweets naming Mueller for the first time, Trump criticized the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election

B.C. teachers’ union to ask for higher salaries to help with shortages

B.C. starting teacher salaries are $10,000 to $15,000 lower than Ontario or Alberta says B.C. Teachers’ Federation president.

Few political staffers on Parliament Hill report sexual misconduct: survey

Sixty-five of the 266 survey respondents said they had personally experienced at least one incident of sexual harassment.

Most Read