A federal environmental review panel has recommended Enbridge’s Northern Gateway crude oil pipeline can proceed if 209 conditions are met.
The news did not come as a shock to Nelson’s Keith Wiley, of Kootenays For A Pipeline Free BC.
“We weren’t surprised. We fully expected the NEB (National Energy Board) to approve it and I actually fully expect the Federal government to approve it,” he said.
“But with that said, I still think the pipeline is never going to get built because of the massive opposition in BC and across Canada.”
Wiley said this latest decision is not the end of the story.
After months of submissions from experts and the public, the NEB 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.”
“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.
Wiley doesn’t agree.
“All these reassurances of safety, whether they come from the NEB or the provincial or federal government — saying they will have world-class safety in place — I don’t know anybody who believes them.”
While there are no firm plans for action against the pipeline in place for the Kootenays at the moment, Wiley said his organization is working on it.
“We are going to continue our opposition.”
— with files from Tom Fletcher