Prioritizing Pipelines over People and Environmental Protection


Prioritizing Pipelines over People and Environmental Protection

The Joint Review Panel approves the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project subject to conditions

Today the Joint Review Panel of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project announced their recommendation to the federal government to approve this project, subject to 209 conditions. CPAWS-BC is profoundly disappointed by this news. During this three-year process, we have joined an overwhelming majority of British Columbians, including First Nations communities threatened by the pipeline, in opposing this project. Testimonials provided by dozens of experts have made it abundantly clear that this project would place B.C.’s environment at risk, including its fragile marine ecosystems and the coastal communities that depend on them. The pipeline would also cross 800 waterways, placing fish and many other species at risk. Given that Enbridge has been associated with hundreds of oil spills in the past decade alone, it is not a matter of “if” but “when” one will occur in B.C. if this goes ahead.

An initial review of the Panel’s report reveals that it does not give B.C.’s environment the consideration it deserves. For example, we are incredulous that the Panel, despite concluding that there “would likely be significant cumulative adverse effects” on both caribou and grizzly bears, recommends that these “can be justified.”

The creation of the pipeline is too big of a threat to wildlife and wilderness in B.C. and poses significant risks to B.C.’s coast through disruptive tanker traffic and the risk of oil spills. The project would impact ecologically important areas that CPAWS-BC works with local communities to protect, including in the Yellowstone to Yukon region, Hecate Strait, Scott Islands, and Gwaii Haanas.

We are disappointed that the Joint Review Panel has disregarded the opinions of the vast majority of British Columbians, given that 96% of the 9,500 written submissions expressed opposition to this project.

This review required the time, energy and resources of thousands of residents with immense and legitimate concerns about the project. A broad spectrum of British Columbians came together in defense of our province and in solidarity with First Nations and this grassroots network now stands ready to rise to the challenge again. We will continue to work with our allies and members to urge the B.C. and federal governments to do what is right for British Columbia and Canada and reject the Northern Gateway Project.

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For more on the risks that the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project would bring to B.C., read the comments that Kai Chan, CPAWS-BC board member and associate professor and Canada Research Chair at UBC, submitted to the Joint Review Panel earlier this year: http://chanslabviews.blogspot.ca/2013/01/to-enbridge-joint-review-panel-can-we.html

You can also read the blog post by our national Executive Director, Eric Hebert-Daly:  http://cpaws.org/blog/pipelines-and-nature