British Columbia Rejects Enbridge Tar Sands Pipeline Project

The government of Canadian British Columbia has said 'No' to Enbridge's West Coast tar sands pipeline project, the Northern Gateway pipeline.

The government of Canadian British Columbia has said 'No' to Enbridge's West Coast tar sands pipeline project, the Northern Gateway pipeline.

The Calgary Herald:

"(Enbridge Northern Gateway) has presented little evidence about how it will respond in the event of a spill," the province wrote in its submission to the Northern Gateway Pipeline Joint Review Panel.

"Put another way, it is not clear from the evidence that NG (Northern Gateway) will in fact be able to respond effectively to spills either from the pipeline itself, or from tankers transporting diluted Bitumen from the proposed Kitimat terminal."

The strongly worded submission made clear the B.C. government believes the company has yet to lay out how it would respond to a catastrophic spill - something it said is particularly important here.

"The project before JRP (Joint Review Panel) is not a typical pipeline. For example: the behavior in water of the material to be transported is incompletely understood; the terrain the pipeline would cross is not only remote, it is in many places extremely difficult to access; the impact of spills into pristine river environments would be profound," the province wrote.

"In these particular and unique circumstances, NG should not be granted a certificate on the basis of a promise to do more study and planning once the certificate is granted. The standard in this particular case must be higher," it added.

"'Trust me' is not good enough in this case."

Founder of 350.org Bill McKibben said Friday, the decision marks an important win for the climate movement. Anti-tar sands campaigners will now be looking for Obama to follow suit and reject TransCanada's bid to build the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, a separate export route for Alberta's tar sands that would pass south to the Texas coast.

"For years the tar sands promoters have said: ‘if we don't build Keystone XL the tar sands will get out some other way,'" McKibben said in a statement.

But, he continued, "British Columbians just slammed the door on the most obvious other way, so now it's up to President Obama. If he approve Keystone XL he bails out the Koch Brothers and other tar sands investors; if he rejects the pipeline, then an awful lot of that crude is going to stay in the ground where it belongs."

This also certainly makes plans to export tar sands oil much more complicated.

About Diane Sweet

Diane Sweet's picture
Senior Editor, Lives in a gerrymandered district in Michigan.

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