Northern Gateway pipeline has been the focus of many protests

Enbridge pipeline will hit wall in B.C., critics say

Environmental and aboriginal opponents say Northern Gateway will be tied up in court and will never be built

Environmental groups and First Nations quickly condemned the National Energy Board’s recommendation to approve the Northern Gateway oil pipeline project and predicted it will never be built.

Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs president Grand Chief Stewart Philip said the battle will likely move into the courtrooms as First Nations mount legal challenges to Enbridge’s project – assuming it is approved in the months ahead by the federal government.

“This is about the environmental integrity of the watersheds we all share and we are willing to go to any lengths to defend our watersheds,” he said. “We are prepared to go to the wall against this project. We have no choice.”

Wilderness Committee policy director Gwen Barlee called it a reckless, foolish, disappointing decision that will run into a wall of opposition in B.C.

“It’s going to be tied up in courts for many, many, many years,” she said. “Environmental organizations will be standing with First Nations and standing with the hundreds of thousands of other British Columbians who oppose this project and don’t want to see it proceed.”

Barlee said the recommendation of approval flies in the face of a newly released federal report that flagged an insufficient capability to respond to an oil spill on the coast.

“This is a project that’s dangerous to our climate, dangerous to our coast and dangerous to our rivers and our salmon,” she said.

“We vow to stand shoulder to shoulder with First Nations, and the thousands of others who oppose this project,” said Murray Minchin of Kitimat-based Douglas Channel Watch, which was an intervenor in the hearings. “We are determined to keep the north coast of B.C. bitumen-free.”

The twin pipelines, carrying diluted heavy bitumen from northern Alberta to Kitimat and condensate used to dilute the heavy oil in the opposite direction, would carve across hundreds of creeks and rivers and send oil tankers out through the narrow passages of B.C.’s north coast.

Ecojustice staff lawyer Barry Robinson said the NEB ignored a huge volume of evidence indicating Northern Gateway is unsafe, unsustainable and unnecessary.

Others argued Enbridge has not proven itself competent to be trusted with B.C.’s environment, citing its 2010 spill of diluted bitumen into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan.

Most environmental campaigners said they were not surprised, citing federal government moves to weaken environmental standards and protection for habitat in the Fisheries Act.

Ninety-six per cent of written comments to the Joint Review Panel, including the submissions of the province, opposed the Northern Gateway pipeline.

ForestEthics campaigner Ben West predicted the ruling will inflame already widespread opposition.

“Really what happened today was more like throwing fuel on a fire,” he said. “It’s the people that truly grant the permission. In this case the people have clearly rejected the pipeline and that is what will matter in the end.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cermaq Canada continues to adapt operations amid Covid-19 pandemic while supporting employees and local communities

As governments, communities and Canadians continue to modify behaviors and activities based… Continue reading

No more ferries will sail from Departure Bay, Mill Bay, Brentwood Bay during COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Ferries announces major changes to sailing schedules for 60 days starting Saturday, April 4

COVID-19: North Islanders bang pots and pans to honour essential workers

‘Hopefully we can keep it going for them because these people are showing up at work every day for us’

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: Juvenile eagle

‘I was able to drive up close to it and get a few pictures without getting out of the truck’

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

COVID-19: postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

Number of COVID-19 deaths in B.C. rise to 35, while hospitalizations fall

B.C. has 498 active confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus

Emergency funding available for North Island College students

Funding for students experiencing financial strain that may affect their ability to continue studies

Don’t stop going to the doctor, just do it virtually: B.C. association

Doctors encourage patients to access telephone, online visits

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open next week

Most Read