The B.C. government has rejected a proposal for the Northern Gateway pipeline project, saying it fails to address the province’s environmental concerns.
The province made the announcement in its final written submission to the Northern Gateway Pipeline Joint Review Panel.
“British Columbia thoroughly reviewed all of the evidence and submissions made to the panel and asked substantive questions about the project, including its route, spill response capacity and financial structure to handle any incidents,” said Environment Minister Terry Lake. “Our questions were not satisfactorily answered during these hearings.”
Lake said the province has carefully reviewed the evidence presented to the panel. “The panel must determine if it is appropriate to grant a certificate for the project as currently proposed on the basis of a promise to do more study and planning after the certificate is granted,” Lake said. “Our government does not believe that a certificate should be granted before these important questions are answered.”
The panel will have the final say on whether the project will go ahead. Christy Clark’s Liberal government had outlined five ‘conditions’ the pipeline would have to meet to proceed. On Friday, the province also reiterated the five conditions it says would need to be met in order to approve the pipeline, including top-notch oil spill prevention and response measures.
These include: environmental review needs to be passed, world-leading marine oil spill prevention, response, world-leading practices for land oil spill prevention, response, First Nations opportunities, treaty rights respected, and a fair share of the fiscal and economic benefits for B.C.
“Northern Gateway has said that they would provide effective spill response in all cases. However, they have presented little evidence as to how they will respond,” Lake said. “For that reason, our government cannot support the issuance of a certificate for the pipeline as it was presented to the joint review panel.”
However, the statement from the province goes on to say “the position adopted by B.C. on the Northern Gateway Pipeline project as currently proposed is not a rejection of heavy-oil projects,” keeping the door open to Kinder Morgan’s proposed expansion to the Kinder Morgan pipeline and a $13-billion crude oil refinery near Kitimat proposed by B.C. newspaper publisher David Black.
The $5.5-billion Northern Gateway project aims to construct two pipelines stretching 1,177-kilometres from the Alberta oilsands to a tanker port on the North Coast of B.C. with the capacity to move 525,000 barrels of oil per day.
B.C. is expected to present oral final arguments to the joint review panel in Terrace, B.C., on June 17.