Proposed route of twin pipeline that would carry light petroleum liquids east to Alberta and diluted bitumen west to Kitimat.

Scientists rap Enbridge pipeline review

Panel counted benefits from production, but not risks of consumption of heavy oil, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told

The federal review panel for the Enbridge Northern Gateway proposal downplayed the risks of a heavy oil pipeline and tanker terminal at Kitimat, and its endorsement should be rejected, 300 scientists have told Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The federal cabinet is expected to release its decision on the project this month, after a review panel report in December recommended it is in the public interest.

A letter from two University of B.C. scientists and one from Simon Fraser University, endorsed by academics and graduate students from around the world, was released this week. It says the panel’s report took “a broad view of the economic benefits, but an asymmetrically narrow view of the environmental risks and costs.”

The benefits come to Alberta oil sands producers from an expected higher price for their crude in Asia. But the environmental risks assessed by the panel are limited to transportation by pipeline and tanker, and omit the risks and emission effects from production and later consumption of the oil, the letter states.

Northern Gateway project leader Janet Holder said the joint review panel (JRP) weighed evidence of from top experts in the field.

“By actively seeking to undermine the work of these experts outside of the JRP process, the signatories of this letter are denying the experts an opportunity to defend their work,” Holder said.

The Harper government has signalled in recent weeks it is preparing to green-light the project. On May 14, Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford and Transport Minister Lisa Raitt announced a new rule for federally regulated pipelines, assigning “absolute liability” for costs and damages of $1 billion even when their operation is not at fault. This is on top of unlimited liability when the operator is at fault or negligent.

On May 27, Rickford announced a new major projects management office for Western Canada, intended to increase aboriginal employment and business opportunities related to pipelines, tankers and safety systems to protect them.

The JRP report cited 209 conditions, including a protection plan for whales and other marine mammals and continued work on heavy oil cleanup.

Northern Gateway officials say their marine spill prevention and response capabilities would be more than three times required by existing law. Pipeline steel would be 20% thicker than required, with the pipelines monitored and pump stations staffed around the clock.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Okanagan, Shuswap

Environment Canada is forecasting strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy downpours in parts of the Interior

WorkSafe BC conducted 70 inspections in the Okanagan amid B.C.’s reopening plan

WorkSafe BC has conducted 100 inspections at restaurants across the province since May 19

EDITORIAL: Revisiting alcohol consumption

A proposal to allow alcohol consumption in some public spaces in Penticton deserves consideration

Chute Lake Lodge opens June 1, offering glamping, yurt, and ebike rentals

Escape into the wilderness and #lovelocalpenticton when Chute Lake Lodge reopens for the season

Be prepared for high water, says RDOS

Higher than average water detected around the Ashnola Rover and Similkameen River

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Emergency crews rush youth to hospital after quadding accident in West Kelowna

West Kelowna Fire Rescue’s new off-road vehicle was used in the rescue

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

Preparations for flooding in the Shuswap accelerate

A sandbagging machine and a crew to run it have been set up in Silver Creek.

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

$200,000 Maybach impounded after ‘L’ driver caught excessively speeding in Vancouver

Meanwhile, the supervisor sat in the passenger seat, police said

Most Read