Native groups won’t allow Enbridge pipeline
Native groups on Canada’s Pacific Coast say they’ll block Enbridge Inc’s proposed Northern Gateway project to carry oil sands crude from northern Alberta to Kitimat, British Columbia, for export.
“The proposed 1,170-kilometre Northern Gateway line is to carry crude oil from Alberta tar sands to Kitimat B.C. where it would be loaded onto tankers and shipped to refineries along the Pacific Rim, poses a perilous threat to the environment and the very existence of aboriginal ways of life, said Art Sterritt, Coastal First Nations executive director.” The Province reported.
The Exxon Valdez, three days after the vessel ran aground on Bligh Reef. The Exxon Valdez spill occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska, United States, on March 24, 1989. Some 41 million liters of Prudhoe Bay crude oil were spilled into the sea destroying a habitat for salmon, sea otters, seals, and seabirds. Photo: NOAA
“Some people are saying (the pipeline) is a done deal. It’s not,” Art Sterritt, executive director of the Coastal First Nations, a coalition of native Indian communities in the area, often called the Great Bear Rainforest.
“Enbridge completely ignores the fact that the larger part of the pipeline is going through the traditional territories of B.C.’s First Nations. You see them here today in opposition.”
The First Nations alliance, representing 28 entities, have formally opposed the Northern Gateway project declaring oil tankers carrying Alberta sands crude will be blockaded. The groups are ready for a legal and political fight.
“Aboriginal leaders said their opposition to the project was strong enough for them to continue the fight, even if Enbridge gets government and court permission to build it—including blockading tankers.” Reuters reported.
“We are prepared to put boats across the channel,” Gerald Amos, a director of the coalition and a native leader from the Kitimat area, told reporters at a news conference in Vancouver.
The announcement came on the 21st anniversary of the Exxon Valdez tanker’s disastrous oil spill in Prince William Sound Alaska.
“And the Vancouver announcement was accompanied by national newspaper ads comparing the two events.” Reuters said.
Steve Wuori, vice-president of liquids pipelines for Enbridge Inc, Canada’s second-largest pipeline company, told the Reuters at Canadian Oil Sands Summit in Calgary that he was “chagrined” by the comparison to the Exxon Valdez disaster.
“It’s disappointing to see the dialogue over what is an important infrastructure project under stringent environmental standards and engineering practices reduced to a recounting of a 21-year-old incident,” Wuori said.
Enbridge digging the earth for one of their pipelines. Photo: Enbridge Northern gateway website. Image may be subject to copyright.
The Northern Gateway Pipeline Project
Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway Project consists of two separate sets of pipelines, according to Enbridge Northern Gateway website .
The West Line will transport petroleum from near Edmonton to Kitimat, a distance of about 1,170 km, in 36 inches in a giant 915mm (36 inch) diameter pipe carrying an average of 2.1 million liters (525,000 barrels) of petroleum per day.
The East Line will transport condensate from Kitimat to near Edmonton in a large 510mm pipeline of 193,000 barrels of condensate per day. The condensate is needed to thin bitumen (heavy petroleum products) for pipeline transport.
Enbridge Northern Gateway project proposed double pipelines map. Photo: Enbridge Northern gateway website. Image may be subject to copyright. Click image to enlarge.
At least 125 groups, businesses, environmental organizations and prominent Canadians oppose the Northern Gateway project.