Opinion Column


Pipeline puts B.C.’s lucrative green tourism industry at risk 0

By Laila Yuile, The Duel

Steveston Harbour in Richmond, B.C., Wednesday Oct. 2, 2013.  (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)

Steveston Harbour in Richmond, B.C., Wednesday Oct. 2, 2013. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)


Columnists Laila Yuile and Brent Stafford battle over the issues of the day. The winner of last week’s duel on Canada Post was Brent with 58%.

This week’s topic:

Did the National Energy Board make the right decision in recommending Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project for approval?

The federal Joint Review Panel has given the green light to Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project with 209 conditions. This means the project moves to the next step to face federal cabinet approval, something that could take up to six months to happen.

In making this recommendation for approval, the panel has effectively set the stage for what some are already calling “Battleground B.C.” — and for good reason. Despite the recommendation of the review panel, the project has a long way to go to come to fruition, and will end up being one of the biggest social-environmental battles this country has ever seen.

Read Brent Stafford's column

The project is still opposed by several First Nations communities along the coast, and it has not been demonstrated that the province would reap any significant long-term economic benefits in exchange for taking on the considerable risks involved.

Many First Nations in B.C. have said they will continue the fight in the courts, no doubt with communities along the route, environmentalists and every British Columbian who values our pristine lands and water.

I’m not generally opposed to pipelines — enough already criss-cross B.C. to bring us the resources we need to fuel our vehicles, heat our homes and operate our businesses. It’s a fact of life. The Enbridge project isn’t any of the above. First, it crosses some of the roughest terrain in the country, inaccessible by road, and it sends bitumen overseas to be refined elsewhere — losing out on Canadian jobs — via some of the roughest marine passages in the world. Try cleaning that up without adequate resources.

Second, B.C. produces some of the best seafood in the world, and has a world-class coastal tourism industry. Risking any of this is not an option this province can afford. Why? Watch the documentary Black Wave: The Legacy of the Exxon Valdez for an eye-opener. Black goo on beaches isn’t marketable, and neither are dead marine animals and fish. Bitumen can’t be handled like oil and human performance in response to a spill is an unknown variable.

Without a doubt, the decision reached by the Joint Review Panel wasn’t surprising to anyone who has followed this project since it was announced — but it was still the wrong one for British Columbia, even if every condition is filled.

Say no to the Northern Gateway pipeline. Say yes to B.C.’s future.

Laila Yuile is an independent writer, blogger and political commentator. You can read her blog at lailayuile.com.





Who wins this week's duel on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline recommendation?

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