Enbridge Northern Gateway Project
Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project proposes two pipelines running between Alberta’s tar sands and a marine terminal in Kitimat, B.C. From the terminal, 220-320 supertankers would transport oil to Asia and the southern U.S. each year. Other tankers would import condensate, the highly flammable, explosive and toxic substance used to dilute bitumen so that it can be transported by pipeline.
The company’s safety record took a very public beating with the release of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board’s report on Enbridge’s handling of the largest oil spill on U.S. soil: the 2010 Kalamazoo River spill. The U.S. regulator didn’t mince words, as she derided the company for its ‘culture of deviance’ from regulatory requirements and compared its handling of the spill disaster to a Keystone Kops film.
Enbridge’s current plan is to send unrefined bitumen mixed with condensate down the pipeline to China. The refining jobs and real added value will be shipped out with the raw resource, fueling Canada’s economic “Dutch Disease.”
The jobs to be created and the royalties going to Alberta pale in comparison to the losses to the rest of Canada; and most especially B.C. In B.C., we can expect to be left with both an environmental disaster and an economic one, as coastal communities that are barely clinging to an economic existence now face the prospect of the tourism and fishing losses consequent on an industrialized coast, let alone a major spill.
Despite hearing from over 4,000 individuals and hundreds of intervenors opposed to the project, the Joint Review Panel recommended approval in December of 2013. The following June, the Harper government put out a simple statement approving the project and then immediately went to ground: not a single minister could be found to speak to the decision.
As at its scheduled progress update in December of 2014, Enbridge still had no confirmed customers for its pipeline. Its financial backing has been thrown into jeopardy by a complete change of direction in China, which has reversed its aggressive offshore oil-acquisition strategy and is instead developing Asian continental resources and renewables. The dramatic plunge of the price of oil in late 2014 may well have been the final nail in its coffin, yet it refuses to give up.
Concerned Canadians have found a variety of ways, from the humorous to the heartrending to tell Enbridge to get out of B.C. Living Oceans Society is determined to keep them out. Here's how we're doing that.