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

Firefighters extinguish early-morning blaze in Rossland

Neighbour alerted family of four, no injuries reported

Rescued snowmobilers ill-prepared for emergency, Castlegar RCMP say

Two men rescued Wednesday night were not ready for overnight in back country

Senior curling provincials setting up for exciting finish

Standings tight as Senior curling teams push for provincial playoffs

Police share more details on occupants and suspicious van in Fruitvale

Vehicle in question offered young girl a ride to school on Feb. 19

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Sledder dies near Fernie

Fernie Search and Rescue was tasked by the RCMP to respond to a sledder in medical distress

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Most Read