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

$220K for Okanagan Rail Trail loo

Successful proposal for Westkal Road comes ‘well within project budget’

Kelowna’s Gallagher’s Canyon announced as course participating in BC Golfathon for ALS

The initiative raises awareness and funds for the ALS Society of BC

Flair Airlines adds Kelowna to new summer schedule

Flair will be delaying the launch of service into Ottawa and Atlantic Canada

Kelowna Art Gallery offers free admission for June

The gallery reopened its doors with restrictions on June 2

WATCH: North Okanagan golf cart stolen, then returned

Homeowners have footage of two men taking the cart and then bringing it back

Drive-thru window smashed after suspect receives burger without mustard

Greater Victoria Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen pre-approves temporary expanded patios during COVID-19 pandemic

Blanket pre-approval granted to all licensees within regional district’s boundaries

UBC announces downtown Kelowna campus

Construction not anticipated to begin for two years, due to zoning processes

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Titanic fails to successfully cross Atlantic a second time

I can hold her in my two hands. She is tiny and… Continue reading

Osoyoos man arrested, charged with possession of child pornography

Shawn Barry Titus, 37, was arrested at a motel in Osoyoos on May 21

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit was en route as whale broke free from prawn trap line

Most Read