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Major Victory Against Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline in British Columbia

June 20, 2013

These bears are unique to the Spirit Bear Wilderness, which is — for now at least — protected from the tar sands Northern Gateway Pipeline. Photo: aussieslove bc

In a powerful victory for First Nations and activists, the Northern Gateway Pipeline has been defeated (though not officially dead yet). According to Climate Ark,

The decision means it is highly unlikely the Northern Gateway pipeline — intended to carry Alberta’s filthy tar sand bitumen to China – will commence any time soon. Ecological Internet is pleased to have successfully been the first to lead international opposition to the project, achieving with many others the second major delay to the flawed proposal. Concerns expressed over the inability to cleanup spilled bitumen in water apply equally to the flawed Keystone XL pipeline, for which President Obama is now clear to deny approval. One down, one to go!

According to Pacific Wild, over 160 First Nations, along with ” 31 municipal governments, 2 regional districts, the Union of B.C. Municipalities, 6 unions and over 250,000 individual public actions have openly expressed opposition to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Project.”

Gateway fails yet again to sell its pipeline to British Columbians

Northern Gateway has utterly failed to convince British Columbians that’its pipeline and associated tankers can be save or that there is a convincing reason for B.C. to care about Alberta’s need for an export option. Photo: ATTA KENARE/AFP/GettyImages

Yesterday’s Vancouver Sun reported, “Gateway Fails Yet Again to Sell Its Pipeline to British Columbians“:

For better or worse, people here have never been overly concerned about getting Alberta bitumen to their coast. Or about securing export markets for the oil.

They’ve been unswayed by promises of 3,000 B.C. construction jobs, 560 long-term jobs and $1.2 billion in tax revenue for the province over 30 years.

What they do fret about is pipeline safety and the company’s liability for any spills.

They’ve been vexed at the prospect of oil tanker operations out of Kitimat, which is slightly inland from the coast, and wonder how an impasse with B.C.’s aboriginal people will be resolved.

Enbridge needed to focus specifically on those issues because, ultimately, it’s British Columbians who will decide Northern Gateway’s future.

The Harper government, of course, will be free to endorse the project even if the review panel turns thumbs down.

But it’s unlikely the Conservatives would ignore public opinion in a province where they hold so many seats, especially when federal New Democrats and Liberals oppose Gateway.

Read full story here.

Defenders of the Spirit Bear Coast of British Columbia and the hundreds of pristine waterways — 726 in all — the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline would cross if allowed — have used emailed comments, citizen testimony, public protest, scientific and technical testimony, and more to win this major victory. In another story this June coming out of Canada, Green Party leader David Coon publicly defended shale gas protesters using another tactic — nonviolent civil disobedience — for its storied history:

“It’s what led to the end of the ravage of the old growth forests in British Columbia in the Canadian context. It helped end the incredible segregation that once existed in the United States and drove the British out of India and so on.”

Energy and Mines Minister Craig Leonard also said this week people are free to protest as long as it’s peaceful.

The RCMP arrested three people on Wednesday at an anti-shale gas protest on Route 126.

Read full story here.

9 Comments
  1. June 20, 2013 5:54 pm

    Yes!

  2. Jeff Williams permalink
    June 20, 2013 6:19 pm

    I have seen the commercial (TRYING) to show an oil tanker having lots of room traveling down the channel. I am an ex-commercial fisherman and know the area in the commercial very well. My point is that the channel in the commercial is a lot narrower than it shows to be in the commercial. The terrain between Alberta and B.C. Coast that has been proposed for a pipeline route is at best extremely difficult to access, there is not a chance that when a pipeline break happens that there will be little to no threat to the surrounding area. The damage will be irreversible and Very Long Lasting, all it will take is one break in the pipeline and B.C. will become another casualty of the oil corporations.

    • Iris Marie Bloom permalink
      June 22, 2013 10:02 am

      Thanks so much for writing in! As a fisherman, you know those waters in a way that no one who hasn’t been there can know them. I agree, it’s absurd for Enbridge — a disaster of a company as it is — to pretend they could mitigate any accidents and spills in those pristine and difficult waters. Thanks for commenting and please keep speaking up if and when they try again to push the Northern Gateway pipeline through.

  3. June 21, 2013 7:23 am

    Finally, some good news!

  4. Ann Dixon permalink
    June 22, 2013 9:35 am

    Woohoo!!! Great news!

    And it “only” took …”over 160 First Nations, along with 31 municipal governments, 2 regional districts, the Union of B.C. Municipalities, 6 unions and over 250,000 individual public actions”

    Just goes to show, we really need a ton of people in this fight against fossil fuel insanity. When we work together, we win!

    Thank you, Jeff Williams, for your informative comment.

  5. juan permalink
    June 27, 2013 7:00 pm

    Lol environmentalists are so hopeful with so little actual hope.

    The project is still going ahead.

    • Iris Marie Bloom permalink
      June 28, 2013 5:46 pm

      Actually, as mentioned in the opening to this article, while not “officially dead yet,” the rejection of Northern Gateway at this stage is clearly a major victory. The editor of Climate Ark, when challenged about declaring victory when the victory is not “complete” or “final,” said this: “Something significant has been achieved, for sure further delaying and even putting in doubt the project, and saying so helps make for a sense of momentum and inevitability.” ‘m all for that.
      As to your attitude, it’s absurd. Scoffing at people who are doing a fabulous job protecting an extraordinary, irreplaceable wilderness — as well as our climate, our future — is pretty much about as sound as laughing at people who opposed slavery, lynching, and other abominations. Many evils have seemed inevitable to some of the people, while they were going on — it’s only when they have been definitively stopped that everyone agrees the end of that horrendous practice was inevitable.

  6. bobby permalink
    June 27, 2013 7:03 pm

    BTW – there are only 47 first nations groups within the proximity of the pipeline.

    Enbridge is offering 10% of the project just so they agree to let it go through. They have 60% support right now.

    • Iris Marie Bloom permalink
      June 28, 2013 5:41 pm

      Thanks for writing in. Clearly First Nations throughout Western Canada and beyond are strongly, actively opposed. This is a pdf of about 83 Western Canada First Nations on record as publicly opposing the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline, along with three larger bodies: http://wcel.org/sites/default/files/First%20Nations%20that%20have%20declared%20opposition%20to%20proposed%20Enbridge%20tanker%20&%20pipeline%20project.pdf — it’s inspiring to read it, from Carrier-Sekani Tribal Council to Xeni Gwet’in. The three larger bodies are the First Nations Summit, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, and Coastal First Nations. Another great source looking at the resistance to the Northern Gateway among First Nations is the Vancouver Sun, “Part Three: First nations fiercely opposed to Northern Gateway.” The original figure of 160 First Nations opposed came from Pacific Wild, and it’s well worth viewing their informative site at http://www.pacificwild.org — which also spells out the opposition from municipal governments and hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens.

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