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REPORTING · 29th August 2011
Merv Ritchie
Today the Federal Government appointed Joint Review Panel (JRP) on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal issued a notice declaring that round one has passed;

As per section 8.3 of the Hearing Order, the deadline for information requests to Northern Gateway (round 1) has passed. All information submitted during this step is available on the public registry.

Enbridge Northern Gateway has complained about the opposition being organized by outside groups.

“These are outside groups that are bringing in outside resources and a lot of money to campaign against the building of the pipelines,” Stanway says. “Now, they’re perfectly entitled to do that, but they need to be upfront about their agenda and where their funding comes from.”

It is a good question. Most of the environmental groups all focus on one strategy, the pristine nature of the west coast and the pristine nature of the land the pipeline will be crossing. Some talk about the wastelands being created by the ‘Tar sands’ but the vast majority of all the effort is concentrated on exposing the hazards of the pipeline and the shipping. Much of the funding for the environmental organizations comes from USA centered agencies.

If the vast majority of the environmental organizations receive their funding through the same channels, it wouldn’t be a surprise they are all delivering the same message.

A unique message would be accepting oil production, (the supply and demand), is a reality and state the only question up for debate is refining it at the source. This position wouldn’t benefit the USA as they already have refineries. It could however benefit Canada immeasurably.

The opposition to the project, however, is not confined to environmental groups or First Nations. Individual Canadians across Canada have taken their time to express their displeasure as is evidenced by these latest comments.

We have selected seven of the last eight submitted by individuals, not First Nations or Environmental groups, sent to the JRP since August 15, 2011. The eighth was a lengthy eight page letter of opposition. That letter and all the rest beginning with the very first letter of comment submitted by the Nisga’a Lisims Government one year ago tomorrow, August 30, 2011, can be read by clicking on this link or following the NEB link at the end of these letters.

To: Secretary to the Joint Review Panel

I would like to solemnly oppose the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Project. As an outdoor enthusiast, avid fisher person and hunter, I cannot rest assured that this proposed pipeline won’t endanger our land and waters if ever a mishap should occur. I think the risks far outweigh the benefits for British Columbians- the ones taking the brunt of the risks. The corridor of pipeline would run through remote mountainous area used by hikers and outdoor recreationists. It would cross hundreds of streams and rivers and a spill will not necessarily be detected and stopped immediately. There have been two spills this year in the NWT and North East of Peace River. There is never any guarantee there won’t be error.

A spill could destroy spawning beds of our salmon and trout- a food source many of us rely heavily upon, especially in this world of hormonally and anti-biotic ally charged meat from the food markets. Any spills in these areas could cause catastrophic results to recreational fishing and tourism in our areas, not to mention the commercial fishing industry of BC.

The safest choice would be not to build it in the first place. How can we sell out our natural beauty and resources that are here for all British Columbians and their future generations to enjoy? I am sure Enbridge will be paying BC well for this access to our lands, but at what price?

A very realistically ultimate one for all of us, if this proposal goes through.

Debi Smith
Houston, BC

I have sport fished the Skeena River System ( SRS) since 1975. It is a beautifully wild and pristine system, despite some industrial pressures. I hope to fish the SRS the rest of my life. But more important to me is the idea that the SRS will be available in its present state for future generations of all Canadians to sport fish- forever.

It would be a terrible mistake to approve any application to put oil pipelines through the SRS. The risks far outweigh the benefits for Canadians. It is a certainty that a leak will occur sometime. Perhaps Enbridge could construct their new pipelines alongside Kinder Morgan's lines from Edmonton-Vancouver, since that risk has already been accepted.

Hal Peterson
Kamloops, B.C.

As an Albertan, and a Canadian, I have a vested interest in the ecology, economy, and conditions of my home province. Setting aside the issue of our economic over-reliance upon the tarsands, I'm troubled by the construction of the Northern Gateway pipeline because of the long-term ecological fallout. The danger posed by the tarsands is a matter of no controversy. The Kelly and Schindler study at the University of Alberta conclusively demonstrates the effects of the Tarsands on local ecology, and Enbridge has a history of shoddy work, safety violations, and pipeline spills documented by The Polaris Report at and the
Tarsands review at The risk posed to local ecology in both Alberta and British Columbia, as well as the risk to vulnerable First Nations communities, is frankly unconscionable.

Nicholas Zenowij Mccormick
Calgary, Alberta

I must voice my very strong objection to the proposed pipeline. I believe that the project is incredibly short sighted and will be an environmental disaster on many fronts. We must stop trading the long term health and sustainability of our province for what amounts to a few short term jobs. I urge you to reject this proposal.

Alexei Marko
Vancouver, BC

To whom it may concern;

In researching the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project I have found some glaringly false and misleading statements.

1. On page 4-35 of the application Enbridge states that 'Transits of the CCAA will usually occur in daylight hours'. The unfortunate problem is that this is impossible 80+% of the year. The location in question, 54 degrees North, on December 21 (the shortest day), receives only 7.1 hours of sunlight. This is not counting the effect of the mountains that further decrease the time. In the winter the transit will have 8 hours of night piloting! Enbridge's statement is a lie, plain and simple.

2. How if operating at night are they going to see the whales. The only way they are going to see ORCA or other whales is if they have lasers on their heads.

3. If there is an accident a 'Canadian' Marine Pilot will be at the helm. Enbrigde has not disclosed that The Government of Canada takes on all the liability of an accident is caused by our own Marine Pilot. We are setting the stage for a 30 billion dollar disaster. If we were trying to have a disaster, this is exactly what you would propose. Insane.

Chris Hunt
Calgary, Alberta

I have been fishing the Copper (Zymoetz) River since I was a tourist at age 15, (as well as much of the Skeena watershed)

I am now a Canadian citizen x 20 years and am 52 years old. I have walked this river top to bottom several times. I have served the citizens of this region as an ICU physician and internal medicine specialist since 1995. I still work in Terrace half of each month.

I have served our Canada 3 times in Afghanistan. All of us living in the region know the disastrous history of the gas pipeline through the Copper drainage. The valley is unstable geologically and subject to avalanches throughout the winter.

The logging roads are frequently closed by slides (I can show you several of them (though I would hope that you are not so ill-informed that I would have to do so.) You cannot beat geology and meteorology. Nobody can build a pipeline that can withstand a mountain falling on top of it. Unlike gas, which will dissipate the oil will kill a blue-ribbon river that brings in more jobs and income to the region locally than your pipeline ever will. It is also part of the Skeena drainage (even in the fishing regulations) yet we have constantly been "assured" that the Skeena drainage will never be touched. I would ask you to think very carefully: 200 years from now, we will not need oil - we shall probably have several alternatives. (IF not, then as little as a 100 years from now it will probably be so strategic that we won't want to export it!) 200 years from now we shall still need water (and fish).

If you go ahead with this project I think you may encounter local resistance on a scale you have not previously encountered in Canada, and if you make a spill here it will not be like the Kalamazoo in Michigan; this is "National Geographic Canada" and one of the top sportfishing destinations in the world, and you will be held personally accountable. I don't think the people of the North are going to allow you to hide within the anonymity of a committee. If you ruin this watershed your company will be ruined, along with Canada's reputation.

Dr. Michael Kenyon
Nanoose Bay, BC

My interest in this application lies in a desire to see this country rise past the oil crisis as it rose above the logging crisis. We are a vast nation with many resources that we are squandering and damaging in order for a quick profit with no regard to the future of Canada and her peoples. The land that this pipeline is to be built on is partly First Nations land and as over 61 bands have signed against the proposed project it seems as though that ought to be enough. Since it is not, here are many more reasons why the Northern Gateway Pipeline ought never to be built.

Enbridge claims that its pipeline will create new jobs but it is putting more than 13,000 current jobs that are directly related to coastal industries, and generate millions of dollars, at risk. Moreover, any new industry in that area would create jobs. Why focus on a scientifically and environmentally unsound resource when we could be focusing our time and money on alternative sources of energy? Canada has prided itself on being a peaceful leader in the world, so why not in the field of alternative energy as well? With new technology comes new means of production, which creates jobs on all levels without destroying the costal industries already in place.

The oil we continue to drain from Canada, and transport across our land does nothing but deplete natural resources, destroy other resources by polluting them, and ravages local communities. In regards to pollution, our own environmental watchdog has stated that we are not ready for an oil spill crisis. The Queen of the North tanker is still leaking oil into our waters because of a minor mistake, and the mess made in 2006 has still not been cleaned up. I think that rather proves the watchdog’s point. And yet Enbridge has averaged at 61 leaks per year for the past 10 years; over 600 leaks and breaks. Shareholders are launching an investigation into the risks and liabilities of this pipeline. Their own website states, “The shareholders are asking the Board to produce a report estimating the frequency and volume of oil and condensate spills that could result from their proposed Gateway project, and to assess the financial liabilities these could have for the Company over a range of scenarios.”

This, to me, sounds as though there WILL be leaks, and spills and the shareholders are making sure that they will not be held responsible financially for whatever crisis ensues. This is not someone worried about an “If” but about a “When.” The very government has tried passing laws against this pipeline. The House of Commons passed a bill banning crude oil tankers off the coast of B.C. which would put a halt to the pipeline. Obviously, this is not a binding bill, but nevertheless, the weight of people speaking against this project is significant. There have been multiple protests ever since the pipeline was first announced. The people of Canada do not want it.

If we are not listening to the people of Canada, to the checks and balances put into place by watchdogs, scientists, and cold, hard facts then what is left? No one but the company proposing the pipeline, and a few conservative minds in the current government, wants the pipeline. Why then should the people of Canada have our land, and our rights, and our voices bought out from underneath us, against our will?

I, as a Canadian citizen, and a shareholder in this country, in the environment, and in the world, reject Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline and its tankers. I am against it. Please take the voices of the Canadian people into account. Please take my voice into account. Thank you.

Kristin Elizabeth Burns
Toronto, Ontario

Additional information on the activities of the Panel is available on the Panel’s website :