Oil Sands Opponents Turn Focus to Enbridge’s Pacific Pipeline Project

Oil Sands Opponents Turn Focus to Enbridge’s Pacific Pipeline Project

A new report signals that the Northern Gateway pipeline project will become the next battleground over the future of the Alberta tar sands.

By Jeffrey Jones, Reuters

ALBERTA, Canada—Enbridge Inc’s proposed $5.3 billion pipeline to British Columbia poses a raft of environmental risks, according to a new report that signals the project will become the next battleground over the future of Canada’s oil sands.

The study by a trio of environmental groups, released on Tuesday, comes fast on the heels of a decision to push back approval of TransCanada Corp’s Alberta-to-Texas Keystone XL pipeline by more than a year.

The delay has led Canada’s oil industry and Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government to intensify their emphasis on exporting oil sands-derived crude to Asia.

The Enbridge project, known as the Northern Gateway pipeline, is the first attempt at doing that in scale.

But the new report—issued by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Pembina Institute and Living Oceans Society—says the project would threaten native communities, salmon fishery and wildlife habitat on land and in waters off the West Coast.

The report uses last year’s Enbridge pipeline rupture and oil spill in Michigan, and even the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, as examples of why governments and regulators should block the proposal to bisect the rugged Western Canadian province with steel pipe.

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