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.

 

Just Posted

Grand Forks remembers the Humboldt Broncos

The community gathered at a vigil on April 12.

Thirty years and going strong: the choir looks back

The Grand Forks Choral Society is celebrating its anniversary with a spring concert.

VIDEO: Highway 3A reopened after mudslide cleared

A mudslide closed Highway 3A between Castlegar and Nelson just north of the Brilliant Dam on Wednesday.

RCMP annual report shows detachment issues, successes

Staffing shortages, travelling criminals were concerns in 2017

Medical staff weighs in on KBRH design

Changes coming to the regional emergency department.

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Fire near Baynes Lake

On Sunday, April 22, a fire was discovered in the Baynes Lake area.

Dix says B.C. remains focused on fighting youth overdoses in wake of teen’s death

Elliot Eurchuk’s parents say he died at his Oak Bay home after taking street drugs

Final week for ALR input

Public consultation process closes April 30

‘When everybody leaves: Counselling key to help Humboldt move on after bus crash

Dealing with life after a tragedy can be the worst part following a loss

Half-naked shooter guns down four, runs away in Nashville Waffle House shooting

Nashville police say they are looking for Travis Reinking in connection with the shooting

Child’s body found in river downstream from where boy went missing during flood

Three-year-old Kaden Young was swept out of his mother’s arms in February

B.C. VIEWS: Eliminating efficiency for farm workers

Don’t worry, NDP says, the B.C. economy’s booming

Most Read