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

Speakers to discuss Site C project- and how to stop it

Finding parallels between massive northern hydro project and the Arrow Lakes flooding

Consult before creating Fauquier reserve: CCT

Sinixt seek consultation before Westbank reserve gets go-ahead

Nakusp bike shop owner opens hostel

Catering to the cycling crowd coming to the area for world-class biking

In historic Sandon, clearing roofs just part of winter

Sandon roofs can take a lot, but need maintenance

Needles killer frightened many in our town: BC author

Roy Bugera disrupted life in a quiet Vancouver Island village before moving to Arrow Lakes

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Anti-pipeline protestors block Kinder Morgan tanker near Seattle

Protest was spurred on by the 28 anti-Kinder Morgan activists arrested in Burnaby

Some surprises in new book about B.C. labour movement

“On the Line” charts history of the union movement back to the 1800s

B.C. cyclist races to first win of the season in New Zealand

Casey Brown captures Enduro title by more than two minutes at Crankworx Rotorua

Notorious Russian troll farm also took swipes at Canadian targets

Targets included oil infrastructure and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Cirque du Soleil aerialist dies after fall during Florida show

Longtime performer fell while performing in VOLTA

Canada earns second Paralympic Games silver in 20 years

Held 1-0 lead in para hockey game from 12:06 of first to dying seconds of third and lost in overtime

LETTERS: Two views of oil pipeline protests

U.S. and other petroleum-rich countries aren’t cutting production

Most Read