Taxpayer Dollars Spent on Supporting Northern Gateway Bid

Nature Canada is dismayed to learn that the federal government has spent $120 million on studies to help Enbridge Inc.’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline. 

Yesterday, The Huffington Post and other outlets reported that leaked documents obtained by Green Party leader Elizabeth May seem to show taxpayers are footing the bill for two major studies on oil tanker safety for the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal that has not yet been approved.

The Harper Government should listen to Canadians and stop subsidizing Northern Gateway. This would help save pristine coastal areas and it would have the added benefit of saving taxpayers $120 million at the same time.

Spending $120 million to help Enbridge sell the Northern Gateway as “safer” is not a responsible use of taxpayer money. The simple truth is that there is no way to build the Northern Gateway Pipeline without carving through pristine British Columbia forest and risking huge swaths of coastal areas critical to birds and marine mammals.

Nature Canada and B.C. Nature, supported by a University of Victoria Environmental Law Centre legal team, were active participants in the Northern Gateway pipeline review process over the past two years. During that time, we led evidence on the project’s potential impacts on the Species At Risk Act listed woodland caribou and on terrestrial and marine birds, and cross-examined Northern Gateway experts at four witness panels for a total of 25 hours. 

Nature Canada and many other nature conservation groups have shown that Northern Gateway’s environmental assessment is deficient and incomplete for a variety of reasons. These include its failure to:

  • properly assess impacts on SARA listed woodland caribou,
  • provide a detailed baseline inventory of wildlife species impacted by the project,
  • analyze consequences of oil spills on marine bird populations, and
  • properly estimate the likelihood of an oil spill from tankers along the BC coast.