Alex Atamanenko, MP for B.C. Southern Interior paid a visit to the Pacific Northwest to learn firsthand about the proposed Enbridge pipeline project.
He, along with Federal NDP Environment critic Megan Leslie and B.C. MPs Fin Donnelly and Randall Garrison were hosted by their colleague, Nathan Cullen, MP for Skeena Bulkley Valley. The group met with elected officials from Terrace, Kitimat and Kitamaat Village. They also attend the Joint Review Panel (JRP) hearings and a public meeting in Terrace with over 120 concerned citizens in attendance.
“What we heard was an overwhelming NO to the Enbridge pipeline,” said Atamanenko. “Those testifying before the JRP were emotional and passionate in their statements. They were grandmothers, teenagers, mothers and fathers, not “radicals” as portrayed by the Conservative government.”
According to the B.C. Southern Interior MP, witness after witness stated that a pipeline pushed through their pristine wilderness and supertankers in their waters would pose a very real risk of oil spills and permanent destruction of their way of life.
“We also had an opportunity to take a boat trip to see firsthand where the tanker port would be. This is truly a magnificent area. One spill of raw bitumen from a supertanker would shut down the tourism and fishing economy putting thousands out of work. This cannot be allow to happen,” concluded Atamanenko.
The recently-passed Omnibus Bill C-38 basically guts the environmental assessment process for big energy projects such as the Enbridge pipeline. There is concern that even if the JRP recommends against the project that the Conservatives will attempt to push it through by way of a cabinet decision.
The 1,177km pipeline would move some 525,000 barrels of raw bitumen daily from the oil sand to a new Kitimat Marine Terminal for shipping to the US and Asia by supertanker. Citizens in the Pacific Northwest as well as in other parts of B.C. and Canada are mobilizing to stop this project.