When the federal government conducts its environmental assessment for Enbridge's controversial Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project, risks to the environment likely will not be the main concern.
If this seems illogical, here is why it is true. In the current review of Northern Gateway, there has been a subtle but significant shift in focus from a fairly straightforward environmental assessment (EA) of the project, to a review with much greater emphasis on the need for the project.
In the final analysis, any review of this project is bound to end up examining environmental impact, the need for the project, and ultimately the public interest, since the three elements are inextricably linked. What it all boils down to, then, is the relative weight accorded to each of the three factors. Under the JRP's original terms of reference, environmental factors were accorded greater weight, whereas in subsequent documents the JRP has turned this around, bestowing greater prominence to the "need for the project" and introducing the element of public interest. Read the entire article HERE