Prince Rupert Says No to Enbridge Pipeline

B. McPherson

Prince Rupert city council joined a growing list of BC coastal communities that are saying “No” to the Enbridge proposal to build a twinned pipeline from Edmonton to the coast. The decision of the Prince Rupert city politicians was unanimous. Already the village of Kitimaat, Terrace and the Skeena Queen Charlottes Regional District have voiced their opposition to the project.

There are ongoing hearings by a federal court appointed Joint Review Panel which are gathering input from interested parties about the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline which would bring crude petroleum from the oil sands of Alberta to the coast of British Columbia. The proposal would see a twinned pipeline run over the Rocky Mountains and through wilderness to the treacherous west coast. The proposed terminus at Kitimat would require tankers to wend their way through the maze of islands and reefs to load up at the head of Douglas Channel.

While the hearings and the findings of the appointed panel are supposed to be reviewed on face value, both federal and provincial politicians have made clear their bias towards building the pipeline. The provincial and federal coffers stand to swell once the crude oil starts flowing to Asia. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has already stated that a pipeline to the west coast is in the ‘national interest’.

What many fear is that more than money will flow if the pipeline is completed. The oil from the Exxon Valdes wreck 20 years ago is still affecting the beaches in Alaska. The BC Ferry, Queen of the North that sunk a couple of years ago is still burping oil near Hartley Bay. A breach in the pipeline would pollute pristine territory.

The proposed project is sure to bring out strong opinions on both sides of the issue. If the people of BC do not see that their opinions matter, the nascent separatist movement for the province will likely gain traction.

The hearings resume on the islands of Haida Gwaii in Massett.

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