The Globe and Mail reports, “A federal Joint Review Panel has given its blessing to Enbridge Inc’s Northern Gateway project, concluding the controversial pipeline is in the public interest, but will be subject to 209 environmental, safety and financial conditions. The assessment of the panel — which will inform a final federal cabinet decision in about six months — said they were persuaded that the 1,178 kilometre pipeline from Alberta to the B.C. coast will meet an economic need by diversifying Canada’s oil market.”
“The panel acknowledged the project is likely to hurt caribou and grizzly populations, and said a large oil spill would cause a significant environmental, societal and economic burden — although that large spill scenario is unlikely, and the effects would not be permanent. The panel steered clear of larger First Nation concerns about constitutionally protected rights to traditional land, leaving those long-disputed issues to Ottawa.”
Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow says, “Going after these pipelines is the most important fight we can have right now. Pipelines are the bloodlines of the tar sands. If we allow these pipeline to go ahead, it’s going to mean that the industry is setting energy policy in Canada. These pipelines mean that you’ll need to keep them full and that means a massive expansion of the tar sands and that means that we will never be able to get the alternative energy future we need.”
Barlow was just in Vancouver to sign a solidarity accord to the Save the Fraser Declaration, which bans the Northern Gateway pipeline and supertanker project, and all other similar projects, from the traditional territories of the more than 130 Nations who have signed the Declaration.
At that signing, Barlow commented, “We stand by you all and will continue to do so as Indigenous communities fight the deplorable actions of the Canadian government. It saddens us that colonization continues today in many forms, including the ongoing land grabs and undermining of Indigenous governance and leadership. As Indigenous people assert their rights and assert their self-determination, you are all setting the example for what our movements for justice can and should look like.”
The Harper government is expected to make its decision about the Northern Gateway pipeline by June 19. Enbridge says construction on the pipeline could begin in 2014 and be operational by 2018. First Nations, numerous civil society groups, and the Council of Canadians all vow that this pipeline will not be built.