Former Environment Minister calls for Pipeline to be Scrapped
Former federal environmental minister David Anderson joined B.C. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip and several environmental groups Monday calling on B.C. Premier Christy Clark to reject the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline regardless of whether Alberta negotiates compensation with the province or not.
“This coast is too fragile and the technology is too inadequate to make this a safe proposition,” said Anderson at a press conference, responding to Clark’s demands for Alberta to give B.C. a “fair share” of oilsands revenue in exchange for her approval of the project.
“Enbridge is perhaps the last company in North America that should be permitted to build a pipeline,” he added, referring to the “Keystone Cops” label given to the pipeline firm by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.
“Enbridge clearly has a cowboy culture, quite inappropriate for building a pipeline in one of the most sensitive parts of the world.”
Anderson wasn’t overly critical of Clark refusing to formally oppose Northern Gateway, saying she has been a “reasonable person” in her project review. “It’s pretty clear that she doesn’t think Enbridge is the company to do this job.”
Phillip, the grand chief of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, was more critical, accusing Clark of “selling our coast and rivers out from under us.”
“It’s unethical, sliding over to the sleazy side,” he said. “The premier is trying to put herself in a position of bargaining away the environmental values of this province for money, and I’m vehemently opposed to that as are all aboriginal people in this province.”
“Absolutely no way will we allow or tolerate the Enbridge Northern Gateway to proceed. We will fight this through the Joint Review Panel. We will fight this proposal in the courts, and if necessary, we will oppose this proposal on the land itself.”
Asked if he would stand in front of a bulldozer to block the pipeline, Phillip said, “Absolutely, if we get to that point.”
Anderson argued Canada’s national interests don’t hinge on any oil pipeline to the West Coast, suggesting alternative markets for oilsands crude exist, including to the U.S. through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
“We do not need a pipeline to the coast. In fact, some economists believe we would be substantially better off financially if we did not make this $5.5 billion investment in this system, which could be better used elsewhere in the country,” he said.
“Enbridge should simply withdraw its application and disappear.”