Review of Enbridge Northern Gateway Project Begins

Photo: Tom Middleton

On July 12, 2011, Nature Canada and BC Nature officially registered to participate as interveners in the environmental assessment review of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project. As interveners, Nature Canada and BC Nature will provide information on the impacts that the project could have on birds, bird habitat and terrestrial wildlife to a panel that will ultimately decide whether the project is in the public interest.

As we’ve said here before, this tar sands shipping project poses unacceptable risks to the ecosystems and biodiversity of the Northern B.C. Coast. There are 28 Important Bird Areas in the Northern B.C. coast and the whole Queen Charlotte Straight is an extremely globally important area for marine birds, other marine animals and fish. This rich ecosystem would be exposed to oil pollution from increased tanker traffic and an impossible-to-rule-out oil spill. The pipeline will also fragment the pristine habitat of boreal birds and other wildlife, including Caribou and Grizzly Bears.

Over the next year or so (assuming no delays) a Joint Review Panel (JRP) will examine the application submitted by Enbridge, as well as evidence and comments from First Nations, individuals, environmental organizations, and other interested persons regarding the project and its environmental impacts. There JRP will hold hearings starting in January 2012 to decide whether the project is in the public interest. The deadline to register as an intervener today, Thursday, July 14, but there are other ways you can  participate and comment.

We hope that the Panel will not allow the project to proceed after considering the impact on wildlife and many other objections to the project, particularly from First Nations. But we’re at least a year away from that decision with much work ahead. We will keep you posted!