Despite more than 200 issues with Enbridge's application to build its Northern Gateway pipeline, and despite widespread opposition to this controversial conduit for dirty darty sands oil, the Harper government approved Enbridge's project proposal in June, 2014. But First Nations and environmental and community groups have sworn it will never be built because of the excessive risks to the economic and ecological well-being along the pipeline route and coastal B.C.
If built, Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline would run west from the Alberta tar sands to the port of Kitimat, British Columbia. The pipeline would cross 800 critical salmon-bearing streams and terminate in the heart of the world-renowned Great Bear Rainforest, where hundreds of super tankers larger than the Exxon Valdez would transport heavy tar sands oil through the world's fourth most dangerous waterway.
- - New twin pipeline from Alberta to Kitimat, B.C.
- Key Problems:
- - Ignores First Nations territorial rights
- Crosses over 800 salmon streams
- Ends in heart of Great Bear Rainforest
- - 400 super tankers through world's fourth most dangerous waterway
- Current Status:
- - First Nations launch court challenges to Harper government's approval of the project in June, 2014
Northern Gateway has sparked fierce and unprecedented opposition from citizens, First Nations and communities of all political stripes, because it poses such unacceptable risks to the environment and local economies of B.C.
According to Enbridge’s own calculations, there is a 23 per cent chance of at least one major super tanker spill during the 50-year lifespan of the Northern Gateway Pipeline. And a recent study from Simon Fraser University using internationally accepted scenarios calculated the likihood of nearly 800 pipeline spills over 50 years. Major spills would be almost impossible to clean up, would put local and regional economies and water sources at risk, and threaten endangered salmon populations that depend on clean water to spawn.
Like the Keystone XL and other new pipelines, Northern Gateway is also the key part of the oil industry's plans to unlock the rapid expansion of the tar sands, locking us into a further 50+ years of fossil fuel dependence and leading directly to catastrophic climate change.
Opposition against Northern Gateway is unprecedented. More than 130 B.C. First Nations have formed an unbroken wall of opposition to Enbridge's pipeline plans, a stance that will make it difficult for the project to proceed given that most B.C. First Nations have constitutionally protected rights over resource projects that cross their unceded lands. Eight First Nations from Haida Gwaii to Yinka Dene territory west of Prince George have set in motion legal proceedings that have the potential to stop or significantly delay the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipelines and tankers project.
More than 140 federal politicians and 36 provincial politicians oppose it, as do twenty local governments including Vancouver, Prince Rupert, Terrace, Smithers, and the districts of Fort St. James, Skeena-Queen Charlotte and Kitimat-Stikine, who have all passed formal resolutions opposing Northern Gateway. In 2010 and 2012, the Union of BC Municipalities itself also passed major resolutions in opposition to pipelines and oil tankers.
Thousands of B.C. and Canadian citizens have publicly opposed Northern Gateway in ways and numbers not seen in the environmental movement in decades. Hundreds of protests have taken place in almost every community in the province, and polling consistently shows that between 60 and 80 per cent of British Columbians of all political leanings oppose the project.
The Northern Gateway Pipeline has no business risking all that makes British Columbia such a special place. That’s why so many people are working to make sure it never gets built.