BC groups urge Canada to reject extension of Enbridge pipeline permit

Prince Rupert – Northern BC residents, community and environmental groups today sent a joint letter appealing to Prime Minister Trudeau to step in and reject the new three-year extension granted by the National Energy Board (NEB) on Enbridge’s pipeline permit given cabinet has final say on the matter.

Groups say they believed the Prime Minister when he said he was against the Northern Gateway pipeline and when he promised last year a moratorium on crude tankers along the North Coast.

“We’re hard-pressed to know how to reconcile Prime Minister Trudeau’s earlier commitment to a tanker ban with allowing Enbridge three more years on its permit,” said Des Nobels of Friends of Wild Salmon. “We’re hopeful Trudeau will recognize the conflict here and follow through with his tanker ban.”

In the letter, groups agree with legal analysis the Haisla filed with the NEB that cabinet has decision-making authority over any direction by the NEB to extend Northern Gateway’s federal approval. This position is also consistent with public statements made by NEB spokeswoman Sarah Kiley that Cabinet approval would be required for an extension of Northern Gateway’s certificate.

“The final decision on the extension depends on cabinet approval,” said Gavin Smith of West Coast Environmental Law Association. “It was cabinet that approved the numerous conditions on Enbridge’s pipeline proposal and it must be cabinet that weighs in now, when one of those conditions is being altered.”

The letter made reference to the overwhelming opposition in British Columbia. Groups and residents have long argued the North Coast and the Great Bear Rainforest are no place for oil pipelines.

Groups involved include the Friends of Wild Salmon Coalition, T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation, United Fisherman and Allied Workers’ Union, West Coast Environmental Law Association, Prince Rupert Environmental Society, Ft. St. James Sustainability Group, Haida Gwaii CoAST, Sierra Club, Dogwood Initiative, Northwest Watch, Friends of Morice Bulkley, Douglas Channel Watch, Pacific Wild and Sea to Sands Conservation Society.