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Enbridge Northern Gateway

"S.H.A.M.E on Enbridge" Photo credit: Kevin Konnyu

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.

Learn More

- 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.

Enbridge Northern Gateway Updates & Resources

Challenging Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline


Barry Robinson | Ecojustice - September 12th 2015

Blog Post: Ecojustice lawyers are representing ForestEthics Advocacy, Living Oceans Society and Raincoast Conservation Foundation, in legal challenges of the federal Cabinet’s approval of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline. A win in this case would mean that the National Energy Board panel would have to go back to the drawing board and produce a complete environmental assessment before the project can proceed. It would also send a strong message that important evidence cannot be ignored when determining whether major development projects are in the national interest.

Trudeau promises to safeguard northern B.C. coast from pipelines

September 10th 2015

Press Clipping: The federal Liberals are promising a moratorium on oil tanker traffic along the northern coast of British Columbia. The move would effectively kill any pipeline projects through the area — including the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline that Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau opposes — and make official a non-binding motion the House of Commons passed in 2010.

Pipelines: In Election 2015, which party has the best policy?


Editorial Board | Globe and Mail - August 19th 2015

Press Clipping: As Conservative Leader Stephen Harper pointed out during the first leaders debate, the oil industry is only a small part of the Canadian economy. (Yes, he really said that. Yes, he’s right.) And the pipelines that move oil are, economically speaking, only a small part of that small part. Yet pipelines have become the flashpoint. A whole series of debates over global warming, carbon emissions, oil spills and even jobs have been reduced to battles over pipe. So where does each of the parties stand on pipelines?

Summer of discontent: Mega-project protests loom across B.C.


Cheryl Chan | The Province - July 25th 2015

Press Clipping: A number of major resource development projects in the works in B.C. are facing near-unprecedented levels of opposition from groups vowing the projects will never get off the ground. Facing a gauntlet of determined residents, environmental groups and First Nations are: Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion, the Site C hydroelectric dam, Woodfibre LNG and Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project — the opposition to which is rivalled only by the legendary Clayoquot Sound protests in the 1990s, said Ben West, executive director of Tanker Free B.C.

Premiers set to fast-track oil pipelines while cutting regulatory red tape


Adrian Morrow | Globe and Mail - July 13th 2015

Press Clipping: Canada’s premiers are poised to sign an agreement to fast-track new oil sands pipelines while watering down commitments to fight climate change. Two sections of the plan commit the provinces and territories to help get more pipelines built, in part by cutting down on red tape to speed up regulatory decisions. But the strategy contains little firm commitment on battling global warming. Its strongest environmental section – a pledge for all provinces and territories to adopt absolute targets for cutting greenhouse gases – is marked as a point of contention that might be scrapped.

Kai Nagata: Is Northern Gateway B.C.’s national energy program?

Kai Nagata | Dogwood Initiative - June 20th 2015

Press Clipping: The courts may, or may not, stop construction of Northern Gateway, but as with the NEP, it’s political pressure on lawmakers that will prove decisive. There are early signs that a shift like this may already be afoot. Enbridge has become a liability for Conservative candidates in every B.C. riding touching salt water. Seat projections by ThreeHundredEight.com have the Conservatives losing seven of their 21 B.C. incumbents, while being shut out of six new ridings created by redistribution.