NEWS RELEASE · 19th December 2013
Ben West Forest Ethics
NEB Enbridge Decision Like ‘Throwing Fuel on a Fire': Harper’s Pipe Dream Will Never Be Real
Today the National Energy Board (NEB) recommended the approval of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline under a set of strenuous conditions.
"We are disappointed with the NEB's decision, but this is far from the end of the story really what happened today was more like throwing fuel on a fire," said Ben West, Tar Sands Campaign Director for ForestEthics Advocacy. "Opposition to this project is widespread and passionate. This NEB decision will only anger British Columbians and inspire more people to get involved, to make sure this project isn't built," said West.
"Overwhelmingly in the process, Enbridge proved that it does not have the competence to build Northern Gateway safely over our wild salmon watersheds, nor that the company, provincial or federal governments are prepared to handle oil spills on our coast," said Nikki Skuce, Senior Energy Campaigner, ForestEthics Advocacy.
More Canadians participated in this process than any other project in the country’s history. Over 9,000 British Columbians submitted written statements to the NEB and over 1,161 people spoke publicly at the hearings and all but two people were opposed. The overwhelming majority of intervenors, expert witnesses, and even the Government of British Columbia all formally requested that the NEB reject this pipeline proposal.
"It's too bad that in this decision oil interests trumped science, facts, and the powerful opposition presented to the JRP," said Skuce.
“The process let us down today, but it doesn't really matter because ultimately the politicians only issue the paper permits," said West. "It's the people that truly grant the permission. In this case the people have clearly rejected the pipeline and that is what will matter in the end."
In the next six months Prime Minister Harper will finalize the NEB's decision on Enbridge's proposal. First Nations legal challenges are anticipated, and those could stop the project or delay it for years. Furthermore, thousands of British Columbians have pledged to take direct action if necessary to stop the pipeline from being completed.
"If Harper tries to push a dangerous pipeline on a province that doesn't want it that will cost him heavily,” said Best West. “Canadians don't like a bully, and when you see this push for Enbridge in the context of the muzzling of scientists, the senate scandal, the shredding of environmental protections and big cuts to public services it adds up an appetite for change."
"The organizing to unseat Harper has begun already; the Enbridge pipeline is Harper’s pipe dream but the project will never be completed. This issue is bigger than politics, or an NEB process; it's become one of the most important social movements of our generation and if they don't stop this pipeline we will," said West.