Enbridge Northern Gateway Talks Resume in Edmonton

By B. McPherson

The first day of hearings in Edmonton regarding the proposed building of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipelines which would carry oil sand product to Kitimat through the Great Bear Rain Forest saw protesters to the project. Members of the Cree First Nations drummed and chanted their displeasure at the idea of oil pipelines through their traditional territories.

Chanting "Shut down tarsands!" the activists held placards with messages such as: "Green jobs not corporate $lobs." Vancouver Sun

The hearings in Edmonton were the latest in a series starting in the small town of Kitimat, British Columbia which would be the terminus of the pipelines if they were built. Hundreds turned out to voice their concerns for the environment if this project would go ahead. Fishermen, tourist operators, aboriginal people and other concerned citizens banded together to show their disapproval of the scheme. When the hearings moved on to Smithers, the opposition there was also loud and clear. At the same time, sympathizers in Vancouver rallied outside the Enbridge offices.

At the rally outside the meeting, there was little ambiguity about the stance of the majority of those present. 

"The opposition to this project is massive and growing every day," Gerald Amos, the rally MC from Kitamaat Village, told the crowd. "We have drawn a line in the sand. There will be no Enbridge Pipeline and there will be no crude oil tankers in our waters. This is not a battle we intend to lose." Peace Earth & JusticeNews

Not everyone is opposed to the project, of course. The Canadian Minister of Natural Resources, Joe Oliver has come out ahead of the hearings saying that they are “stacked” with opponents although anyone with an interest could have registered to speak. The oil sands investors are in favour of it. There are huge amounts of money to be made selling petroleum to Asian markets and workers would be hired to build the multi billion dollar project.

Poised against that is the very real probability that an oil tanker will end up on the rocks as it navigates the tortuous Douglas Channel. Spills and breakages of pipelines do occur as Enbridge saw in its pipeline last July when four million litres ( 1,056,688 us gallons) of oil were spilled into the Kalamazoo River. The proposed route is through an area that National Geographic Magazine dubbed “The Wildest Place in North America” and is home to rare and wonderful plants and animals.

The hearings are scheduled to continue for 18 months.

** Oolichans , aka eulachons, candlefish were an important part of the economy and culture of the pre-European coastal people. These fat little fish could be dried and used as candles. Their oil was collected and traded with inland groups. They are a smelt and make for nutritious eating. Some runs are now endangered.

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