News Local

B.C. groups oppose pipeline decision

 Michael Mui and Sara Norman, 24 hours

Northern Gateway pipeline. (Postmedia Network File Photo)

Northern Gateway pipeline. (Postmedia Network File Photo)

B.C.'s Environment Minister Mary Polak says four of the province's five conditions for Northern Gateway still haven't been met, despite the federal government's approval issued on Tuesday.


So far, she said, a federal environmental review process has been completed, but B.C. is also demanding that it gets a fair share of the pipeline's financial benefit, world-class systems to prevent and handle spills, and protections of aboriginal rights.

But she also cautioned the provincial government is legally obligated to hear Enbridge's applications — for things such as environmental assessments, permits, and land-use investigations — and must make decisions without arbitrary opinion.

"One of the important features of our permitting process … is if there are adverse environmental effects, then permits are not going to be granted," Polak said.

Meanwhile, First Nations groups along the pipeline route say there's no way they will allow the project to proceed.

Tsodil Pete Erickson, Hereditary Chief of the Nak'azdi First Nation near Fort Saint John, said his band would seek a legal injunction to prevent pipeline construction from beginning.

"Under no circumstances as long as I'm alive will there be a heavy oil pipeline through our territory."

Eoin Madden with the Wilderness Committee said it seems the only way to stop the pipeline is via the courts, or in the coming federal election. He called the issue a "political football."

Ben West with Forest Ethics said people are willing to engage in civil disobedience, though his organization is conducting training to ensure any action is peaceful.


Reader's comments »

By adding a comment on the site, you accept our terms and conditions