We cannot let this approval go unchallenged. Read on to understand the practical consequences of the approval, and how it can be resisted.
After some months of review of the evidence, the National Energy Board (NEB) gave Enbridge the go-ahead to build the Northern Gateway Pipeline. This pipeline will transport tar sands bitumen to a British Colombia port where it will be loaded on super tankers for discharge in the Orient. The approval was subject to fulfilment of 209 conditions, none of which are complex.
The NEB concluded that construction of the Northern Gateway is in the national Canadian interest. The NEB did not address longer term results and their consequences such as:
- the increase in Canada’s GHG emissions that will result from the exploitation of the tar sands;
- the contribution to world GHG levels when China, Japan and probably India receive, refine and burn the bitumen to produce electricity;
- the need to keep fossil fuels in the ground if the world is to meet its target of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Centigrade.
The NEB’s rationale is that its mandate is to examine risks that Northern Gateway presents to lands and waters through which its passes, and not any indirect contribution of the pipeline to global warming.
The Cabinet will now review the NEB’s decision. The Cabinet will not reverse the approval. The Cabinet will commend the NEB for its thorough review and carefully considered judgment. Theoretically the Cabinet could reject some of the conditions imposed on the Board, or turn them into conditions subsequent that can be satisfied while the pipeline is being built.
4RG will join with other environmental organizations by giving its supporters a vehicle to express objections to the Cabinet. If enough opposition is mustered in the next four weeks the Cabinet will be more cautious in its treatment of the conditions.
We count on numerous objections from voters. These objections will demonstrate that the approval will be an election issue. It will also telegraph to the opposition parties that they must stand for rejections of this GHG source. Be sure to come back to this site between now and Xmas to see what you can do!