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NEWS: Harper retains power to make decision on Northern Gateway pipeline

Nelson chapter activists Dick Vission and Pegasus McGauley at the protest in Kelowna on Monday. Photo by Suzy Hamilton/ The Nelson Daily.

Nelson chapter activists Dick Vission and Pegasus McGauley at the protest in Kelowna on Monday. Photo by Suzy Hamilton/ The Nelson Daily.

Postmedia News reports, “The British Columbia government (in its final written submission to the federal review panel) said it cannot support Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project because the company has failed to address environmental concerns about oil spills on land and at sea.” Christopher Jones, a lawyer representing the province, said, “It is not clear from the evidence that Northern Gateway will in fact be able to respond effectively to spills either from the pipeline itself, or from tankers transporting diluted bitumen.”

But while “British Columbia may have rejected it, the federal Conservative government says it still awaits a decision from the joint review panel examining the Northern Gateway project before it decides whether to approve the $6-billion oilsands pipeline. Seemingly undeterred, the Harper government says it will wait for the National Energy Board-Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency joint review panel’s report — due by the end of the year — before deciding how to proceed.”

“The Harper government, in legislative changes adopted last year, has given the federal cabinet the final say on whether to approve major pipeline projects in the ‘national interest’ — including the Northern Gateway — stripping the power from the National Energy Board.” In the omnibus C-38 legislation, the Harper government gave itself the power to give the go-ahead to pipelines and other major energy projects regardless of the conclusions of recommendations coming from regulatory hearings.

The article adds, “NDP natural resources critic Peter Julian, a British Columbia MP, says the province’s decision is a recognition that thousands of fisheries and tourism jobs in northern B.C. could be threatened by the pipeline and any potential oil spill. ‘There is widespread opposition in British Columbia from an environmental and economic standpoint’, Julian said.”

The Council of Canadians has campaigned extensively against the Northern Gateway pipeline and C-38. Northern Gateway involves two 1,200-kilometre underground pipelines. One pipeline would move 525,000 barrels a day of bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands to Kitimat on the coast of the Pacific Ocean (to then be transported on the ocean by 225 super tankers a year), the other would move 193,000 barrels a day of condensate, which is used to dilute the bitumen from the tar sands so that it can flow through the pipelines.

British Columbia is expected to present its final oral arguments to the Joint Review Panel on June 17 in Terrace.

For more, please read:
NEWS: Council launches ‘No Pipelines! No Tankers!’ tour and report
NEWS: Adrangi to speak in Kelowna on pipelines, Nov. 16
NEWS: Thousands protest Northern Gateway pipeline in Vancouver
VIDEO: The People’s Summit on Enbridge Northern Gateway Project in Kelowna, BC
NEWS: Kelowna, Nelson chapters protest the Northern Gateway pipeline