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

Greater Victoria businesses come together to help Island kids

Langford Lowe’s raises funds for youth mental health all month

Donated sculpture in Sidney’s Beacon Park a testament to perseverance

Victoria artist Armando Barbon picked up sculpting 22 years ago

Sidney builds community resilience through neighbourhood gatherings

Meet Your Street needs residents to create gatherings, safe interactions

Langford racing enthusiast back in driver’s seat of life after surviving aggressive cancer

70-year-old David Smith finishes mid-pack in Canada 200 race at Western Speedway

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan: Top 5 things you need to know

Jobs training, tax incentives for employers to hire staff and more

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read