Northern BC Community Opposes Enbridge Northern Pipeline

B. McPherson

Skeena Queen Charlotte Regional District has joined others in opposing the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. The regional district provides government services to the residents. They join many others living on the coast of British Columbia who are opposed to the build out of the twin pipelines that would carry Alberta Oil Sands petroleum from Edmonton to the village of Kitimat.

Jennifer Rice, a Prince Rupert councillor, said in a statement. "Any effort to ram this project through will be a direct attack on our First Nations, the fishing industry and other coastal economies. We encourage development, but the risks are too great with this particular proposal." CNews

The pipeline if built would carry bitumen from Alberta to waiting supertankers which would supply petroleum products to the Asian markets. At build out it is expected that about 200 supertankers would ply the treacherous waters leading up the channel to Kitimat.  The proposed route is through the Great Bear Rain Forest, a block of unspoiled wilderness that National Geographic magazine has dubbed the Wildest Place in North America. It is home to the rare and elusive Kermode bears.

Currently a more southerly pipeline – Trans Mountain – carries crude from Alberta to the BC coast ending near Vancouver. Kinder Morgan is applying to fully twin the pipeline in order to carry more product. Much of the product goes to the US currently where refineries supply the west coast of America. Currently fewer than 100 tankers take on cargo in Vancouver each year, but that number is likely to increase as well.

With the price of oil hitting over $100 per barrel today, there is the prospect of some making very good profits selling the oil. The federal government has already revealed its bias towards supporting the building of the Northern Gateway pipeline. In contrast to that is the very real probability that increased tanker traffic among the numerous islands and shoals of the BC coast will result in a catastrophic spill.

From my point of view on the BC coast, it looks as if the BC residents are being asked to accept the risks while a consortium of foreign owned oil companies will reap the benefits.

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