Mulcair says fix EA process before approving pipelines

Federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair says neither of the two pipelines proposed to cross the province should go ahead without undoing amendments the Conservatives made to the federal environmental assessment process first.

Mulcair, who visited the province to support Murray Rankin for a Nov. 26 by-election, said the process has been weakened too much by the amendments to be reliable.

Tod Nogier, Enbridge spokesman, said they were aware from the beginning the project was likely to become a political issue.

“We knew people would form an opinion around this,” Nogier said. “Given the importance of the project we knew it was going to have profile. That is borne out of the fact there is tremendous interest to this project.”

However, in spite of whatever the opinions of the day are, they continue to be focused on the regulatory process.

“It’s very rigourous, one that demands our full attention and resources,” he said. “We continue to make our case in the hearings with respect to the many safety measures for both the pipeline and marine aspect of the project. And we believe we have answers for people.”

Building a world-class project is a priority to them, he said.

"Our intention is to make this project world-class, essentially the safest one built on the continent. The marine aspect of the project will be world-class, on par with some of the safest ports around the globe.”

That, he said, is what Enbridge is striving for.

“We’ve devoted considerable resources and hired some of the best experts in these areas so we do that,” he said. “Now our objective remains the same. We want to demonstrate to the JRP board and stakeholders as well as the citizens of B.C., Alberta and Canada  that a project of this magnitude is both essential and can be done in safely and in an   environmentally sustainable way.”

Ensuring excellence in construction is important, he said.

“We agree with everyone that  it must be built and must be operated to the highest standards. We are prepared to answer questions. We understand we are at the stage that the JRP must review our project at its current stage. There will be further review at each subsequent stage in the process,” Nogier said

He added, as more information is available, plans will evolve.

Locally, the mayor and city council have not yet made a public statement regarding their stance on the pipeline.

“The City does not have an opinion or position on the project. The  Joint Review Panel needs to conclude, with recommendations to the Federal Government,” Mayor Shari Green said. “ I believe the oil companies will get the oil out of the ground and it will find its way to market one way or another. If it does not get piped through B.C., it will simply go around us.”


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