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NEWS RELEASE · 10th July 2012
MP Nathan Cullen - Smithers
Today’s report by the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) into the deadly July 2010 Enbridge spill in Michigan identifies “a complete breakdown of safety at Enbridge” and notes the company knowingly “failed to accurately assess the structural integrity of the pipeline.”

“The findings are actually worse than we feared,” Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP and Opposition House Leader Nathan Cullen said this morning. “They are a body blow of breathtaking proportions to Enbridge and yet another wake-up call to the Northwest of the dangers of allowing big oil to run a pipeline through our Northwest watersheds.”

Cullen commended NTSB chair Deborah Hersman for her frankness in terming Enbridge’s Michigan spill “”an accident that is a wake-up call to the industry, the regulator, and the public.” A synopsis of the NTSB report is available at

Meanwhile, in related developments, Cullen is taking a dim view of yesterday’s announcement by Canada’s National Energy Board that Enbridge hearings originally scheduled for Hazelton will be moved to Smithers.

“This is completely unnecessary and offensive,” he said bluntly. “It seems that hearing safety has become the new poker chip in a game of increasingly high stakes for the people of the Northwest, BC and all of Canada.

“On a whim, the Enbridge Joint Review Panel thinks it can throw down this chip and unilaterally alter the rules of the game without regard for anyone else at the table.

“We went through this in Bella Coola recently and it was incredibly disruptive. In the end, the panel recognized there was no threat to hosting hearings there and things went ahead but the interruption certainly tainted the process.”

Cullen said the Panel’s decision to relocate Hazelton hearings to Smithers to “ensure a safe and secure community hearing venue” is an affront to democracy and a significant inconvenience, if not an outright barrier, to hearing Hazelton voices.

Cullen said he and the NDP caucus will fight to return the hearings to Hazelton. Several NDP MPs attended JRP hearings in Kitimaat Village late last month and also hosted public forums on the proposed Enbridge pipeline in Terrace and Vancouver