Vancouver - Critics of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker proposal welcomed today’s announcement by BC’s Official Opposition that there must be a “made in BC” decision on this project.
The provincial Opposition said today that BC should go its own way in reviewing the Enbridge proposal and committed to crafting a tailored assessment process, rather than using the standard BC Environmental Assessment Act approach.
“We welcome today’s commitment to a “made in BC” decision that must uphold First Nations constitutional rights and the will of British Columbians about the Enbridge proposal,” said Josh Paterson of West Coast Environmental Law, “We agree that the provincial government can’t just hide behind an inadequate federal decision-making process and farm the decision out to Ottawa.”
The federal government interfered with its own Enbridge review process midway through by changing laws and procedural rules to give the Prime Minister himself and his ministers the last word on approving pipelines.
“The federal budget bill earlier this year gutted the whole federal environmental process, basically paving the road for pipelines and tankers,” said Karen Wristen, Executive Director of Living Oceans. “The province of BC is more than justified in pulling out of the joint assessment agreement, because the federal process is no longer anything we could call ‘equivalent’ to proper environmental assessment. We will be pushing for a review that looks at the real risks that BC communities are asked to bear by the Enbridge proposal.”
“The federal government has not only publicly endorsed this Enbridge project and tried to silence dissent, but they’ve cut environmental legislation and politicized the environmental review process from start to finish,” said Nikki Skuce of ForestEthics Advocacy. “British Columbians are the ones who will live with the disastrous consequences of oil spills on our priceless coast and in our salmon watersheds. We applaud the Opposition’s pledge to give British Columbians the deciding vote on the Enbridge project.”
The technical hearings for the Joint Review Panel on Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project begin in Edmonton on September 4th, 2012. There have been criticisms of the process given the narrow scope of the review, cut-backs to federal ministries and resulting weaknesses in their evidence and analysis, lack of BC Government participation to date, and an imposed decision-making deadline for December 2013.
"The Opposition has identified that Enbridge's project is not in B.C.'s interests," said Eric Swanson of the Dogwood Initiative. "Given the known risks and the positions taken by First Nations and local governments I would be surprised if a B.C. review found different."
- 30 -
For more information, contact:
Karen Wristen, Living Oceans Society, 250-973-6580
Nikki Skuce, ForestEthics Advocacy, 250-877-7762
Josh Paterson, West Coast Environmental Law, 604-601-2512