Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Northern Gateway Panel Releases Conditions for Pipeline Ahead of Final Arguments

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Northern Gateway Panel Releases Conditions for Pipeline Ahead of Final Arguments

Article excerpt

Panel releases conditions for pipeline

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VANCOUVER - The panel weighing the future of the proposed Northern Gateway project released a long list of conditions Friday that the company would need to meet should the project receive approval, including almost $1 billion in liability coverage in the event of a catastrophic oil spill.

The joint federal review panel stressed that the release of draft conditions does not mean a decision has been made.

"The panel has not made any decisions on whether or not to recommend approval of the proposed project," said a letter provided to review participants by the panel. "The publication of potential conditions is a standard step in the hearing process that is mandated by the courts."

The parties involved have until the end of May to comment or propose additional conditions as part of their written final arguments.

Among the 199 conditions proposed by the panel, Northern Gateway Pipelines, a subsidiary of Enbridge Pipelines Inc. (TSX:ENB), must have total coverage of $950 million for clean-up, remediation and any other damage that might result from the project.

That would include unfettered access to at least $100 million within 10 business days of a large spill to cover immediate costs while insurance claims are processed.

The company would also have to undertake a research program on the behaviour of heavy oils such as diluted bitumen, a molasses-like petroleum product that will course through one of two pipelines linking Bruderheim, just outside of Edmonton, to a tanker port in Kitimat, B.C. The second pipeline would carry natural gas condensate, used to dilute bitumen, east from B.C. to Alberta.

Northern Gateway would need to submit environmental and marine monitoring plans and track aboriginal, local and regional employment for monitoring by the National Energy Board.

It would have to submit plans for monitoring species at risk and file a caribou habitat restoration plan, as well as submit plans to the board for monitoring air quality and soil contamination.

Under the conditions proposed by the panel, any certificate would expire unless construction has begun by Dec. …

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