Newspaper article The Canadian Press

U.S. Oil Spill Report Adds Fuel to Opposition to Enbridge Pipeline in B.C

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

U.S. Oil Spill Report Adds Fuel to Opposition to Enbridge Pipeline in B.C

Article excerpt

Critics say B.C. must heed oil spill report


VANCOUVER - Opponents of Enbridge's controversial Northern Gateway pipeline are pointing to a scathing report into a spill in the United States to bolster their argument that the company's proposal to transport oil over remote areas of British Columbia is too risky.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board issued a report Tuesday into a July 2010 spill that saw more than three million litres of crude oil spill into Michigan's Kalamazoo River and nearby wetlands. The board concluded Enbridge failed to fix a defect discovered five years earlier and then responded poorly when the spill occurred.

The Calgary-based energy company is currently seeking approval for a 1,170-kilometre pipeline between Alberta and the B.C. coast -- a proposal that has drawn the ire of First Nations groups, environmentalists and the province's Opposition New Democrats.

NDP Leader Adrian Dix was quick to hold up the U.S. report as proof Enbridge's Northern Gateway project should be rejected.

Dix called on Liberal Premier Christy Clark, whose government has so far refused to take a position on the pipeline, to finally join him in condemning the project.

"The long-term effects for the people of Michigan of what happened in the Kalamazoo River will be felt for a long time and have been serious in terms of health, in terms of the environment, in terms of the economy," Dix told reporters in Vancouver.

"Here in British Columbia, those risks to our economy, to our environment have to be part of the process, and they haven't been."

The Northern Gateway project is currently before the National Energy Board, which has been holding hearings throughout Alberta and British Columbia. The hearings are expected to wrap up early next year.

The Alberta and federal governments both support the pipeline, but the B.C. government has insisted on staying neutral. The province's premier and environment minister have suggested it would be irresponsible to take a position before all the evidence is in.

But Dix said the government has failed to even provide the panel with its own evidence about the potential risks of the pipeline and of the increased tanker traffic it will spur. …

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