NDP aims to stop Enbridge pipeline
NDP leader Adrian Dix has found what he believes is a legal roadblock to the Enbridge Northern Gateway oil pipeline from Alberta to Kitimat.
Dix announced Wednesday that if he becomes B.C. premier next spring, he will withdraw from the federal-provincial review of the pipeline that is currently underway, and launch a "made in B.C." review of the pipeline.
If that doesn't result in rejection of the project, which the NDP opposes provincially and federally, Dix said the B.C. cabinet would have the final say. And if Prime Minister Stephen Harper tries to overrule the province, the battle would shift to individual provincial permits required for river crossings and wildlife corridors in B.C., he said.
Dix and NDP environment critic Rob Fleming said the B.C. Liberal government's decision to cede control over environmental assessment to Ottawa, and then present no evidence at the federal hearings, left the province out of the discussion.
Premier Christy Clark and Environment Minister Terry Lake have announced pre-conditions of pipeline and tanker safety, and provincial officials are scheduled to cross-examine Enbridge before the federal review panel makes its recommendation to the federal cabinet next year.
Dix emphasized that the B.C. cabinet can overrule its own environmental review, just as the federal cabinet can. A provincial review of technical issues would have to be carried out to justify refusing provincial permits, he said.
Lawyer Murray Rankin was hired to advise the B.C. NDP. He said the joint review agreement with Ottawa allows B.C. to give 30 days notice and opt out, and the existence of the agreement shows that B.C. does have jurisdiction over whether the pipeline proceeds.
Dix said he wants to return B.C. to separate federal and provincial reviews of major projects, like the Prosperity gold mine near Williams Lake, where the B.C. government issued a permit, but the federal review later rejected it and spurred a costly redesign.
Dix said he met Tuesday with Black Press chairman David Black, who is backing a refinery at Kitimat to process oil sands crude for shipment by sea.
Dix said the idea of refining crude domestically is worth pursuing, but the Kitimat proposal doesn't change his opposition to the Enbridge plan.