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

Truck partially swallowed by Esquimalt sinkhole

City of Victoria crews repaired water main break, patched up hole on Tuesday

Why one Langford teacher is giving his kidney to a stranger

‘You get butterflies in your stomach,’ says man who has had 12 reconstructive surgeries

BC Transit seeks feedback for proposed route changes to Esquimalt, View Royal

Feedback can be collected through open houses, survey

Saanich and Victoria agree on terms of reference to further amalgamation study

Municipalities put forward funding request to province

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Greater Victoria’s wanted list for the week of Jan. 28

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Are you concerned about the coronavirus?

The coronavirus which has sparked concern around the globe has now arrived… Continue reading

60% of Canadian workers would take a pay cut for better mental health support: survey

Survey found 77% of workers would leave for better wellness initiatives

Runaway rail car reported on same B.C. train line as fatal 2019 derailment

CP Rail confirmed the incident happened on Jan. 14.

Police arrest Baby Bear statue thief in Island community

Suspect alleged to be responsible for other crimes in Chemainus, Nanaimo, Ladysmith and Alberta

‘Critically low’ caribou population prompts wolf cull in the Chilcotin

Itcha-Ilgachuz herd numbers down to 385, from 2,800 in 2003

RCMP to review fatal B.C. train derailment investigation after evidence points to ‘cover up’

The derailment, which occurred on Feb. 4, 2019, killed three men from Calgary

Family hopes Britain can get pregnant B.C. woman out of China’s coronavirus epicentre

Lauren Williams, who is about 35 weeks pregnant, has been stuck in Wuhan

Most Read