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Plans to “punch a hole in the Rockies” for tar sands pipeline

The Globe and Mail reports that, “Commercial support is building for a new pipeline to carry oil sands crude (from Fort McMurray) on its way to Asia…”

Enbridge Inc. is advancing “its Northern Gateway project, an 1,170-kilometre pipeline capable of carrying 525,000 barrels per day to the British Columbia coast…”

“By early next year… Enbridge expects to announce for the first time that it has secured ‘solid’ commercial backing for Gateway…”

“Enbridge plans to submit a full Gateway regulatory filing late this year or early in 2010.”

While the Globe and Mail frames the story positively as, “Canada’s energy industry seeks diversification from the U.S. market (by selling to China) and an escape valve from potentially punitive climate-change regulations,” the Council of Canadians has long criticized the project.

We spoke out against the Enbridge plans in a March 2008 media release. After a three-day “learning tour” of the Alberta tar sands, then BC-Yukon organizer Carleen Pickard said, “We are concerned by Gordon Campbell’s proposal for an energy corridor carrying tar sands oil to West Coast ports.”

The Globe and Mail does note that, “Enbridge faces criticism of its Gateway plan among the 50 native communities Gateway will affect. They are concerned about the impact of potential spills.”

National Post columnist Don Martin has written that tar sands exports to China, “will require Canada, whose pipelines now head only north and south, to punch a hole in the Rockies and open up a crude flow to the west coast, from where oil could head overseas.”

The Council of Canadians is planning further actions to oppose the Enbridge project and will have details to share in the weeks to come.

The Globe and Mail article is at http://www.globeinvestor.com/servlet/story/GAM.20091120.ROIL20ART1942/GIStory/.