British Columbia rejects tar sands pipeline proposal that suggests “doing nothing” after oil spill

Well, this is interesting. The government of the Canadian province of British Columbia has rejected a multi-billion dollar tar sand pipeline proposal because the company “has been unable to address British Columbians’ environmental concerns.”

Programming note: If Keystone pipeline news interests you, tune in to the Ed Schultz Show today just after the 2:00 pm ET break. I’ll be on with guest host Mike Papantonio of Ring of Fire talking Keystone, where we are and where we’re going. Thanks.


In the news item below, note that Enbridge is the company (like TransCanada) and “Northern Gateway” is the project (emphasis mine):

VICTORIA, British Columbia, Canada, June 3, 2013 (ENS) – Oil spill cleanup concerns have led the British Columbia Government to reject a proposed multi-billion dollar tar sands oil pipeline that the Canadian company Enbridge wants to construct across the province.

Oil covered duckIn its final submission Friday to the federally-appointed Northern Gateway Pipeline Joint Review Panel, the province states that it cannot support the Enbridge Northern Gateway project because the company “has been unable to address British Columbians’ environmental concerns.”

Environment Minister Terry Lake said, “British Columbia thoroughly reviewed all of the evidence and submissions made to the panel and asked substantive questions about the project including its route, spill response capacity and financial structure to handle any incidents. Our questions were not satisfactorily answered during these hearings.”

“Northern Gateway has said that they would provide effective spill response in all cases. However, they have presented little evidence as to how they will respond,” Lake said. “For that reason, our government cannot support the issuance of a certificate for the pipeline as it was presented to the Joint Review Panel.”

Note four things as you click through and read:

1. The oil is bound for Asia:

The Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, as proposed … would carry tar sands oil by pipeline across the province, to be loaded onto supertankers for transport to Asia.

2. The ‘”sell” by the company is economic, but the bulk of the benefits (the profits) would of course go to the company, or they wouldn’t be doing it:

In its written submission to the review panel on Friday, the company emphasized “the enormous economic benefits that the Project would deliver to Canada, British Columbia, Alberta and Aboriginal peoples.”

3. The company touts its excellence in “spill response”:

“Northern Gateway would have comprehensive oil spill response plans for all Project components and would substantially improve existing emergency response on Canada’s pacific coast – something unprecedented for a pipeline project.”

4. Yet the BC review noted just the opposite:

But the B.C. government’s submission points out that the company’s proposal indicates that “doing nothing is a possible response to a spill.”

Just what Van Jones said about Keystone:

Is the provincial government of British Columbia really less corrupt (meaning less purchasable) than ours? Seems so.

This is environmental due diligence done right. Good for you, Canadians. At least you’re protecting your own.


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Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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