Reported by Emelie Peacock
Northern B.C. communities are not surprised that Trudeau’s government rejected the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project.
Launched in 2004, Northern Gateway was meant to bring Alberta oil to the port city of Kitimat via a 1,177 km pipeline. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau officially rejected the project on Nov. 29, following a Federal Court ruling that the federal government had failed to consult with affected First Nations.
Phil Germuth, mayor of Kitimat, was not surprised by the federal government’s decision. Germuth said despite the city being very pro-development and pro-industry, the environmental risks on this particular project far outweighed the benefits.
“The Enbridge project was that one in a million project that the community looked at and just said hey, you know we love industry and what it brings, but this is one project that we just can’t support,” Germuth said.
BC Chamber of Commerce disappointed by decision
The BC Chamber of Commerce was disappointed by the decision. Dan Baxter, director of policy development, government and stakeholder relations, said he had hoped the court decision would have moved the government to act.
“We would have hoped that they would have taken this as an opportunity to sharpen their pencils, come up with a framework that business and indigenous communities can have faith in, that would allow us to come up with positive decisions for projects like Northern Gateway,” Baxter said.
Tracey Joseph, general manager of Wet’suwet’en First Nation, a community of 89 people along the proposed pipeline route, is relieved the project did not go ahead. Members of the community expressed concerns about major leaks affecting the habitat and wildlife.
“I think it was good news for our members. I know a majority of those opposed to the oil pipeline,” Joseph said.
Enbridge to look at alternatives with indigenous groups
While 130 indigenous communities along the route opposed to the project, 31 indigenous groups entered into an equity partnership with Enbridge Inc. The company said in a statement that it would look at alternatives together with these groups and other partners.
Wondering what communities can be affected with the pipeline? Check it out in the map below.