It seems like every time BC First Nations draw major press coverage on their opposition to Enbridge, the company comes up with increasingly wild claims about how much support they have from First Nations.
Today, amidst Enbridge's AGM in Toronto, the company is doing damage control in the face of pressure from some of its prominent investors with regards to the proposed Northern Gateway pipelines. NEI Investments has filed a motion asking the company to respond to risks posed by First Nations opposition to the project. According to NEI manager Jamie Bonham, "...[I]f the company cannot provide a compelling rationale that refutes the risks that we've identified, then the prudent course of action would be to put the project on hold." Meanwhile, Vancity is mulling purging Enbridge stock from its mutual funds for the same reason.
But according to Enbridge executives quoted in the mainstream press today - including this must-listen interview with Rick Cluff on CBC's Early Edition - these concerns are overblown and a whopping 40 to 50-plus percent of First Nations "along the pipeline corridor" have or will have signed onto revenue sharing agreements with the company by month's end.
But there's good reason to be skeptical of Enbridge's claims of First Nations support for its controversial project. Last December, the day after the historic anniversary of the "Save the Fraser Declaration" in Vancouver - whereupon over 60 First Nations signed onto the document or reaffirmed their commitment to oppose Enbridge (with another 70 nations in BC and Alberta standing with them in solidarity) - Enbridge rolled out Elmer Derrick.
The now infamous former treaty negotiator for the Gitxsan First Nation had made an unauthorized deal with the company for a whopping $7 million over 20 years to share in revenues from the pipeline in exchange for supporting Enbridge's plan. The mainstream media - particularly Postmedia - bought the ruse, hook, line and sinker, with the Vancouver Sun making it front page news before later backpedaling on the story (though a number of key stories on the issue from this embarrassing chapter for the paper are conspicuously no longer available online).
A few other points worth noting on that deal before moving back to the present day: According to the calculations of a colleague, based on the number of Gitxsan spread throughout three villages in Northeast BC and off-reserve, that $7 million worked out to about $3 per person per month over 20 years - barely enough for a cheap can of salmon each...which I suppose would have come in handy when Enbridge destroys their traditional salmon runs with a spill from its pipeline (of course it would have to be Russian or Alaskan salmon).
It also turned out the Gitxsan's territory doesn't actually sit along the pipeline route, which added to the frustration of the nation's neighbours whose territories the pipeline would bisect and who firmly oppose the project. The deal was quickly discredited by the larger Gitxsan community and hereditary leadership, and subsequently formally annulled. Mr. Derrick and two of his colleagues lost their jobs with the Gitxsan Treaty Society over the debacle, but Derrick has since been rewarded with a plum Harper Government appointment to the Prince Rupert Port Authority.
Now, as the Yinka Dene Alliance leads a delegation of BC First Nations to Enbridge's AGM in Toronto - the culmination of a cross-country whistle-stop tour by train - the company is boasting it has loads of support from First Nations. An Enbridge representative told CBC's Rick Cluff this morning, "Over 40% of First Nations along the proposed corridor have entered into agreements with Enbridge to take a position, to take a stake in project." Enbridge Gateway VP Janet Holder went a step further, telling the Globe and Mail that by the end of May she expects most concerned First Nations to have bought into the deal, stating, “It will definitely be a majority.”
Which nations? They won't say.
What exactly do these deals really look like? They imply they're all actual revenue sharing partnership deals - but can we be sure they aren't mixing protocol and impact benefit agreements in there? Of course, we may never know.
How many nations along the Tanker Route? It's reasonable to infer from the company's carefully worded statements that it has the support of First Nations "along the pipeline corridor", that they have none along BC's precious and perilous coast. The Coastal First Nations - such as the Gitga'at of Hartley Bay and the Heiltsuk of Bella Bella, to name just a couple - remain steadfastly opposed.
Given the fact that the Gitxsan - the only nation Enbridge has actually touted by name - were in fact not technically "along the pipeline corridor", how many of these dozens of allegedly supportive nations would actually have the pipeline passing through their territories? According to the Globe and Mail, Enbridge defines the "corridor" and eligible aboriginal groups as any "first nations and Métis groups that claim territory within 80 kilometres of its route." (emphasis added).
How many of these nations are on unceded territory within BC (as opposed to treatied lands in Alberta)? This is an enormous distinction, in legal terms and on a number of other fronts.
When the company says it's offering these nations a "10% stake" in the project, what exactly does that mean? Enbridge is conveying the false impression that it's giving away this stake, when in fact it's loaning the nation or helping to arrange the financing for it to purchase a "stake" in the project. That's another big distinction often missed by the mainstream media.
Again, I have to come back to the one deal we actually know about - the illegitimate one cut by Mr. Elmer Derrick. $7 million over 20 years. We hear all about the hundreds of billions of dollars of value the Enbridge pipeline would bring to Canada's economy. How do you get to a measly $7 million from that? Are all these deals as awful as the one they were actually prepared to brag about?
And the most important question of all: How does this First Nations "stake" in the pipeline help to limit Enbridge's liability in the event of an inevitable oil spill? Will they dump 10% of the cleanup costs on affected nations? Or will they leave them holding the bag altogether? Long after Enbridge has done its damage, First Nations will still be there, left to deal with the mess. Just ask the people of Michigan.
If I'm mistaken in any of my questions or conclusions, I urge Enbridge to correct me where I'm wrong. That would preferable to having to read between the lines of the company's increasingly boastful and vague statements - and the often misleading interpretations of them by the mainstream media.
"The Development of Nothern Gateway is job one."
- Christy Clark shorty after becoming Premier
"With respect to northern gateway, let me say our government is pro pipeline," says the Premier of British Columbia.
Christy Clark made this claim in question period last week. She did so while berating the NDP for opposing the project on the grounds that they are doing so prematurely and without adequate information to make an informed opinion.
This is the definitive moment that marks the turning point in the now long standing myth that the BC liberals are "neutral" or have chosen to take "no position" on the Northern Gateway Pipeline. And it was done with the stunning Liberal hypocrisy we have been forced to endure for too long.
By now anyone following the Joint Review Panel on the Northern Gateway Project is well aware that the process is deeply flawed, politically driven and resembles more of a dog and pony show than anything remotely close to an extensive review of the pertinent environmental and economic issues.
The BC Liberals have proven that they do support pipelines, no matter what the cost, just as the Premier admitted in Question Period. They have done so for a long time and with little if any understanding of the far reaching economic and environmental ramifications. And the only reason they cling to a false front of neutrality is to maintain the now long standing cover up of their complicity in advancing pipeline projects.
The myth that they maintain a neutral stance dominates the mainstream barrage of coverage. This is done in order to provide the political escape hatch this government may require in order to cling to power. It also is done to perpetuate the "mass deception" governments, oil and media have undertaken, according to Robyn Allan former ICBC CEO, who has worked to uncover the misdeeds of government and industry boosters.
The time for the Liberal myth of 'neutrality' and so called 'respect for public processes' has come to an end. This will happen in large part due to the effort of concerned and informed citizens who, at great risk, have not only fully explored the issues but have also uncovered reams of data supporting their claims including unseemly bilateral agreements, extensive economic analysis and strategic components of the proposals that have been kept from the public. The now retired former CEO of ICBC Robyn Allan outlines some of these major concerns in this presentation and her recent open letter to the Premier.
Most recently Ms. Allan has completed a report entitled "Proposed Pipeline and Tanker Spill Risk for BC." In this exhaustive report Robyn shines the light on how these pipeline proposals have been designed to "low ball" the pipeline capacity in favour of adding additional capacity in the future. This strategy allows for a 60% increase in the daily flow of diluted bitumen in the case of Enbridge's proposal and in so doing does an end run on exhaustive environmental assessments that would be required had they originally proposed the full capacity. The following is from her report:
There is no reason to believe that the true environmental risk represented by the Northern Gateway Project is being—or ever will be—adequately addressed. The current JRP process has excluded a significant portion of the project's actual capacity and its implications for pipeline spill and marine spill, while in the future, there is no statutory obligation to do so. All indications from the Federal government suggests there will be no political will either.
Ms. Allan goes on to demand that BC regain its statutory right to a final decision on the Northern Gateway Project:
The government of British Columbia [needs] to take action and protect BC's statutory right for final decision for this project by removing Northern Gateway from the Equivalency Agreement with
As a result of the fine work of Ms. Allan and others like her, the national and provincial mainstream media has been forced to cover the duplicitous nature of the Liberal stickhandling of this issue despite having moved mountains to maintain the delicate mythology that the liberals have "not taken a position on the issue." And the blogosphere has lit up (too many to link to) revealing this documentation that proves the Liberals are not only far from neutral but have taken outstanding measures in order to ensure that the pipeline projects proceed virtually unhindered by issues in the best economic interest of British Columbians and our environment.
People concerned about the future of our Province should view Robyn's presentation and support her recent request for Cabinet to revoke the nearly two year old Equivalency Agreement which diminishes our ability to influence major projects in our Province. Also take the time to read her most recent report and follow up on her request to bring these issues to the attention of the Premier.
And, while we are at it we should encourage the environment Minister to explain why he delegated his Ministerial powers as outlined in section 27 of the act, onto senior staff which enabled the "Equivalency Agreement", that forfeits our sovereign ability to properly review, participate and influence not just the Northern Gateway Project but four major proposed infrastructure developments. All of which will alter the very fabric of our Province and set BC on a course to a very bleak future. The relevant act clearly outlines the Minister has the right to enter into these agreements, not staff. It seems this was done in order to avoid political scrutiny while greasing the skids for major projects not necessarily in the best interest of British Columbians.
Furthermore, the Equivalency Agreement was absolutely unnecessary as there already was a long-standing agreement in place that would have allowed for Joint Review Panels to be established in order to prevent duplication. Indeed this was the entire purpose of this long standing, renewable agreement. The Minister should explain why he delegated his power to staff to establish the Equivalency Agreement, under what direction and for what purposes given the fact it was entirely unnecessary in order to "avoid duplication" or "streamline" the already entrenched agreement.
Equivalency Agreements were at one time an administrative tool used exclusively by Alberta to allow for that Province to undertake reviews and avoid duplication by the Federal Government. In recent highly contentious legislation, the use of Equivalency Agreements was forwarded by the Harper government to remove the Federal review components on so called "minor projects" making the Provinces sole arbiters. Given that Taseko's Fish Lake project was rejected by the Federal process but passed the provincial assessment we gain insight into why Harper made these adjustments.
However, in the case of the Equivalency Agreement in British Columbia the exact opposite is occurring and the Province is being cut out of the process in order "to avoid duplication." This stands in stark contrast to both the traditional application of these agreements and how they are being currently utilized by this government. Our environment Minister needs to clarify why. Otherwise, it seems that not only are they using it to remove the Province from the equation but they are doing so against the grain of the common application of these agreements, while at the same time ignoring the act which dictates the Minister makes these arrangements, not staff.
We should also be asking our Environment Minister when and where the required public notice for this Equivalency Agreement occurred, because in order for an Equivalency Agreement to be enabled it requires notice and a 60 day time period for input on behalf of stakeholders and interested participants.Furthermore, after the 60 day period is complete, the agreement is supposed to be published by the Minister, or put in the Gazette. None of which occurred.
These striking anomalies just scratch the surface of the evidence that the BC Liberals have had an agenda for many years which involved a multi-faceted approach designed to set the legal and administrative stage for the successful development of exhaustive infrastructure projects in order to export Alberta's Dirty Dilbit. It was done so by intentionally removing the capacity of British Columbian stakeholders to influence the decision making and outcomes while ensuring we had no significant leverage or capacity to negotiate beneficial economic arrangements.
Its time to end the deception and mythology surrounding the future of British Columbia and the oil and gas agenda and start planning a future that benefits all British Columbians.
Kevin Logan was a Ministerial Assistant to former Premier and Minister of Energy Mines and Northern Development Dan Miller.
Read this editorial from the Globe and Mail, which argues that the Harper Government should stop its campaign of smearing environmental groups who oppose the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipelines and alleging criminal activity on their part, such as "money laundering". (May 7, 2012)
Environment Minister Peter Kent’s unsupported accusations of “money laundering” involving foreign and Canadian environmental charities are part of an apparent campaign of the Conservative government to smear and intimidate groups opposed to the Northern Gateway pipeline.
Mr. Kent’s accusation in Parliament and media interviews, and the pattern they are a part of, suggest the government is improperly taking sides between the environment and business – trying to discredit those who raise environmental concerns in a public-hearing process mandated under federal law.
This pipeline may well prove a financial boon to Canada, but there are legitimate environmental concerns that need to be heard, including the danger of oil spills in environmentally sensitive waters. The pipeline will take bitumen from Alberta to Kitimat, B.C., before it is loaded on ships bound for Asia. Business and the environment do not exist on two separate planes, where one matters and the other doesn’t.
The Environment Minister has accused unnamed environmental charities of criminal activity, and yet provides no specifics, except to point to the work of Conservative Senator Nicole Eaton. “There is political manipulation,” she said. “There is influence peddling. There are millions of dollars crossing borders masquerading as charitable foundations into bank accounts of sometimes phantom charities that do nothing more than act as a fiscal clearing house.” There is paranoia, there is partisanship, there are wild allegations. But evidence? No.
Read full editorial: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/editorials/ottawa-should-cease-and-desist-its-smear-campaign-of-environmental-groups-opposing-northern-gateway-pipeline/article2423344/
What is civil disobedience?
I ask because I’m going to be urging such a course in the times to come.
Although he didn’t invent the idea, Mahatma Gandhi invented the modern term when he protested a tax on salt imposed by the British which hurt the poor Indian especially. He broke the law deliberately and went to jail for doing so.
A more current example was that of the Freedom Marchers of the 1960s who challenged the segregation laws of the Southern US by “sitting in” at segregated restaurants; by Rosa Parks who defied the laws of Montgomery, Alabama, by sitting in the white only section of a bus; and by Dr. Martin Luther King who in the same time urged peaceful demonstrations.
Many would go back much further in time to Jesus.
What are some of the rules?
- It must be non violent. That is a very important rule.
- The law being protested must be unjust in one or more ways. It must be imposed unfairly or itself contrary to law or justice or both.
- Those protesting must be prepared to go to jail.
- There must be no other reasonable way to attain justice.
- They must be effective.
Where do I suggest civil disobedience?
Fish farms, for one area. Government policy allows them yet they are not only in violation of the UN law requiring the Precautionary Principle but against Canadian law in this regard.
So-called “run of river” projects which, without fail, severely damage the river and its ecology usually to the point of - for all intents and purposes - utter destruction.
Pipelines - especially the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipelines taking the ultra toxic bitumen from The Tar Sands to Kitimat - which don’t pose a risk of huge environmental damage but the certainty of it.
The utter lack of government concern for the environment and the public that wishes to preserve it is underscored by the recent decision of the federal government to dam the Kokish river near Port McNeill – a river that is home to all species of salmon, resident Rainbow, Cutthroat, Dolly Varden and has both a winter and summer run of steelhead.
Tanker trafficking of bitumen from Kitimat or through Vancouver Harbour which, again, don’t pose risks but certainties of huge environmental damage.
Civil Disobedience has had successes in the past in BC but too often there have been one or two who have refused to obey the law and once they have been jailed, the protest has petered out.
We must organize such that scores, even hundreds, defy the law and are ready to do time.
There has been very little by way of organization in the overall community but First Nations appear to be ready and, if nothing else, the rest of us must be prepared to support them and face the same consequences.
Our first step must be, in my view, a clear statement by environmental organizations and individual British Columbians that we will stand shoulder with First Nations - and we at the Common Sense Canadian plan to meet with their leaders and see how we can help.
Read this blog post from Andrew Frank on reports from the Giga'at First Nation of Hartley Bay, BC, that oil is leaking up from sunken US Army Transport boat into Grenville Channel in the waters of the Great Bear Rainforest. (May 2, 2012)
HARTLEY BAY, BRITISH COLUMBIA (May 2, 2012) – The Gitga’at Nation of Hartley Bay is reporting an oil spill, between two and five miles long and 200 feet wide inside the Grenville Channel, not far from the proposed tanker route for the Enbridge Gateway pipeline. The spill was spotted by a commercial pilot and reported to the Gitga’at Nation and the Canadian Coast Guard yesterday evening.
A Coast Guard landing craft from Prince Rupert is on its way to the spill, and expected to arrive by 12pm. The Gitga’at are sending their own Guardians to take samples and have chartered a plane to take aerial photos of the spill.
“If this spill is as big as the pilots are reporting, then we’re looking at serious environmental impacts, including threats to our traditional shellfish harvesting areas,” says Arnold Clifton, Chief Councillor of the Gitga’at Nation. “We need an immediate and full clean-up response from the federal government ASAP.”
Heavy oil, known as “bunker c” is thought to be upwelling from the USAT Brigadier General M.G. Zalinski, a U.S. army transport ship that sank in 1946 with 700 tonnes of bunker fuel on board. The Canadian government has been saying it would remove the oil and munitions from the ship since 2006, but with no results.
“Right now we’re focused on getting a handle on the size of the spill and the clean-up that’s required,” says Clifton. “But this incident definitely raises questions about the federal government’s ability to guard against oil spills and to honour its clean-up obligations. As a result, our nation has serious concerns about any proposal to have tankers travel through our coastal waters, including the Enbridge proposal.”
Read more, see photos: http://andrewfrank.ca/2012/05/02/oil-spill-reported-in-the-great-bear-rainforest/
Read this story from the Chilliwack Times on a recent telephone townhall meeting held throughout the riding of Chilliwack-Hope to discuss proposed oil pipelines and tankers in BC in advance of the recent provincial byelection there. (May 1, 2012)
Thousands of residents in the provincial Chilliwack-Hope riding took part in a telephone townhall meeting on the topic of Kinder Morgan's oil pipeline expansion before Thursday's byelection.
The call was organized by Victoria-based Dogwood Initiative and went out to everyone listed in the phone book, approximately 14,000 homes.
Dogwood campaigns director Eric Swanson said 4,572 people opted in to the discussion, although most did not stay on the entire time.
"At any given moment we were talking to just under 400 people," Swanson said.
The call involved a number of poll questions about oil tankers and pipelines. On the line for a discussion were three panelists: former Socred MLA and current political commentator Rafe Mair; economist and former ICBC CEO Robyn Allan; and Abbotsford resident John Vissers, an outspoken critic of the pipeline.
The three main Chilliwack-Hope byelection candidates were asked to provide their positions on the issue, but only New Democrat Gwen O'Mahony responded.
When asked if those on the line supported or opposed projects like Kinder Morgan's, or the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, 39 per cent supported, 44 per cent opposed and 17 per cent said they didn't know.
Sixty-eight per cent of respondents said the issue of pipelines and tankers would be a voting issue in the byelection, as opposed to 32 per cent who said it wouldn't be.
Read more: http://www.chilliwacktimes.com/technology/Thousands+participate+pipeline+conference+call/6545242/story.html
The following letter was originally published on economist and former President and CEO of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia Robyn Allan's blog, robynallan.com.
April 19, 2012
Dear Premier Clark,
Your government has not spoken out for or against the Northern Gateway pipeline proposed by Enbridge Inc., rather preferring to wait until the National Energy Review Board process is complete. I am writing to you today to explain that, unfortunately the current Northern Gateway environmental and public interest process is flawed and as a result the public interest of BC is not protected.
The Federal government, as I am sure you are aware, has publicly endorsed the project, stated it is in the national interest of Canada, and has systematically demonized individuals and groups who oppose the project. This behaviour has made a travesty of the necessary arms length relationship between government and an independent regulatory body.
As long as there was some sense that the Joint Review Panel (JRP) was independent and had the authority to reject the proposal regardless of the political pressure imposed by the Prime Minister’s Office, a semblance of due process was maintained. That necessary condition was violated when Federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver unveiled proposed legislation on April 17, 2012.
The Federal Government now intends to further weaken environmental protection and favour large oil companies operating, primarily, in Alberta. This has betrayed any remaining trust in federal energy decisions as they relate to the province of British Columbia.
With the overhaul of the environmental assessment rules and process, and making final decision on oil pipelines—such as the Enbridge Northern Gateway and proposed Kinder Morgan projects—a Federal cabinet prerogative, there is no confidence that the Government of Canada will make decisions that will be in the best public interest of the residents of this province.
A major change in policy in the midst of nation breaking events such as Northern Gateway or Kinder Morgan requires deliberate action on the part of your Office to protect the public interest trust and rights of BC residents and First Nations.
Certainly when the NEB process for Northern Gateway commenced in June 2010, the BC government thought the JRP would be objective and have the power to recommend a binding decision which would reflect the public interest of British Columbians and Canadians. I can imagine that the safety and efficiency inherent in one independent review body—which the NEB was believed to be at the time—and the belief that our public interest would be protected were reasons why the Liberal government of BC under the leadership of Gordon Campbell, felt it acceptable to sign away our right to conduct an environmental assessment under B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Act.
During my review of the Enbridge economic documents as part of their Application to the NEB, I wondered why there was no real or meaningful review of their case by various ministries of the BC government. The deliberate intent in the Enbridge documents to increase the price of oil for Canadian consumers and businesses, and the lack of concern over the impact our petro-currency has on forestry, agriculture, tourism and manufacturing, appeared to be glaring examples of an economic case intent on presenting only the benefits to the oil industry without due consideration to the economic costs for the rest of us. The development of a strategy to export raw crude to Asia at the cost of value added jobs and control over environmental standards also seemed worthy of provincial comment.
I felt surely, there should be professional economists, paid by taxpayers, that would stand up and present a fair picture of the macroeconomic impact rapid resource expansion and export has on the economy of British Columbia, not to mention the threat to the environment and First Nations rights. That is when I discovered that BC had signed away the right to actively assess the project. I then understood that not only have you, as Premier, elected to remain silent on the issue, but our provincial departments have effectively been muzzled as well.
I draw to your attention the Environmental Assessment Equivalency Agreement signed between the NEB and BC’s Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) on June 21st, 2010. I have attached a link to the agreement for your ease of recall.
Essentially the agreement states that the EAO will accept the NEB’s environmental assessment for four proposed projects, including the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, which would otherwise have to be reviewed under BC’s Environmental Assessment Act. The NEB’s review would be treated as an equivalent assessment.
If the province of BC had not signed away its right to the NEB, under the terms of the legislation the EAO would have had to undertake a review. According to the EAO, it is a “neutral agency that manages the review of proposed major projects in British Columbia, as required by the Environmental Assessment Act. The environmental assessment process provides for the thorough, timely and integrated assessment of the potential environmental, economic, social, heritage, and health effects that may occur during the lifecycle of these projects, and provides for meaningful participation by First Nations, proponents, the public, local governments, and provincial agencies.”
We have the power within BC to undertake meaningful environmental assessment within provincial jurisdiction, but signed it away. However, not all is lost. Clause 6 of the Environmental Assessment Equivalency Agreement states: ”Either Party may terminate this Agreement upon giving 30 days written notice to terminate the other Party”.
May I recommend that the Government of British Columbia inform the Government of Canada that the province is now exercising its right with 30 days notice in order that it may undertake a proper environmental assessment under the terms of the provincial Environmental Assessment Act, for the Enbridge project, and it will not entertain signing such an agreement for the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline.
This action will ensure that the public interest of the people of BC will be protected and will not be severely curtailed by the actions of the Government of Canada favouring primarily Alberta’s oil producers.
Original Signed by Robyn Allan
cc. Dr. Terry Lake, Minister of the Environment
Mr. Adrian Dix, Leader of the Opposition
Mr. Rob Fleming, Environment Critic
Mr. John Cummins, Conservative Leader
Mr. John van Dongen, Conservative MLA
Mr. Bob Simpson, Independent MLA
Ms. Vicki Huntington, Independent MLA
Read this column from the Vancouver Sun's Stephen Hume on a respected analyst's Robyn Allan's warning that BC has surrendered its provincial sovereignty with regards to the review process on the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. (April 20, 2012)
Hearings assessing the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project and legislative changes planned in Ottawa compromise the province’s sovereignty and threaten its authority to defend British Columbians’ interests, warns a letter from Robyn Allan, the former president of ICBC, to Premier Christy Clark and other leading provincial politicians.
The planned pipeline would carry 190 million barrels of diluted bitumen from Alberta’s oilsands to Kitimat each year. Tankers the size of three football fields would then move the bitumen through the Inside Passage to upgraders in China. Another proposed pipeline expansion by Kinder Morgan would more than triple capacity to move oil from Alberta to a tanker terminal in Burnaby from 100 million to more than 300 million barrels per year.
Potential environmental risks, first nations issues and municipal government objections have been a major source of controversy in both the public and political discussion of the Northern Gateway project. Clark has said the province won’t take a position until the environmental assessment and economic review process are complete. The mayors of Burnaby and Vancouver have both vowed opposition to the Kinder Morgan proposal.
Allan, an economist who has been analyzing the Enbridge proposal, says that an agreement quietly signed by the provincial government under former premier Gordon Campbell on June 21, 2010, relinquished the province’s right to its own environmental assessment process for major resource projects and instead accepted the federal NEB’s findings as an equivalent.
The assessment now underway combines the NEB review and the federal ministry of environment’s review under what’s known as the Joint Review Panel.
Allan says the B.C. government made its equivalency agreement in the belief that the NEB review would provide a neutral, objective, arm’s length assessment.
But since then, she says, the process has been compromised, the federal government has unilaterally moved to change the rules and B.C.’s sovereignty is now threatened with subordination to the interests of Alberta and Ottawa while input from provincial departments has effectively been muzzled.
“The federal government, as I am sure you are aware, has publicly endorsed the project, stated it is in the national interest of Canada, and has systematically demonized individuals and groups who oppose the project,” Allan writes. “This behaviour has made a travesty of the necessary arm’s length relationship between government and an independent regulatory body.
Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Hume+surrendered+sovereignty+pipeline+hearings+analyst+warns/6495354/story.html#ixzz1sjW3PcVf