Enbridge responds to letter from Kitimat resident opposed to pipeline and oil tanker traffic along the B.C. coastline

I recently posted a letter from Kitimat resident Murray Minchin, who is angered and concerned over the proposed oil pipeline Enbridge is planning to cross northern B.C. He is also concerned about  the possibility of an incident like the Exxon Valdez spill occurring somewhere along the B.C. coast, and how Enbridge would respond to such an incident. Murreys letter was directed to Roger Harris, Vice-President of Aboriginal and Community Partnerships for Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines and has since been published as a letter to the editor in the Kitimat Sentinel.

I received a note from Mr. Harris late yesterday with an attached letter responding to Murray’s questions. Here is that response in full, in PDF format :  09-08-04 Enbridge response letter to Murray Minchin  


8 thoughts on “Enbridge responds to letter from Kitimat resident opposed to pipeline and oil tanker traffic along the B.C. coastline

  1. My immediate thoughts on Mr. Harris response is “who will be footing the bill for all this training an equipment. Will it be Enbridge or the taxpayer of BC as we have seen with other mega projects? I contend that if Enbridge wants to build a pipeline then they should foot the bill lock, stock, and barrel.
    Train the people, build the tugs (here in BC), and pay for any and all spill cleanups. Oh , and a bond of about 10 billion dollars would be nice as well.


  2. Laila

    Interesting point Gary, because I don’t see anything here that addresses who IS paying for all these planned enhancements,nor do I see who would be paying for all the associated costs of any spills.

    One thing to point out as well, is that Roger refers to all the traffice currently along the BC coast, in particular the large cruise ships that he mentions are of a similar size if not larger than the oil tankers that will be using the waterways.

    Big difference between cruise ships and oil tankers, Roger. One carries people, the other, oil. And while there will be damage and fuel spilled should a cruise ship run aground and start leaking, the damage from an oil tanker will be far more devastasting if a hull is breached.

    Bad comparison if you ask me.


  3. astro

    Here is an article from the PG Citizen about Enbridge. I hope it’s not too long.


    Environmental groups seek pipeline inquiry
    Written by Gordon Hoekstra
    Citizen Staff
    Monday, 17 August 2009

    A coalition of 11 environmental groups — including those based in northern B.C. — have asked the federal Conservative government to replace a planned environmental review of Enbridge’s proposed $4.5-billion pipeline through northern B.C. with a broader public inquiry.
    The environmental groups said Monday they believe the joint review by the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency will not adequately address “big picture” issues like greenhouse gas emissions from expanded oil sands production, the significant risk of tanker traffic on the coast and the cumulative impact of further pipeline and tanker traffic in the future.
    Conservative Cariboo-Prince George MP Dick Harris reacted cautiously to the call for a public inquiry, but said he believes that companies face higher scrutiny than ever through the lengthy review process for large industrial projects.
    Enbridge official Roger Harris said that some of the environmental groups’ assertions are simply not true. He noted that the joint review panel’s draft terms of references includes consideration of oil tanker transport on the B.C. northwest coast, as well as the cumulative environmental impacts of Enbridge’s project and others. (The draft terms of reference, available at http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/documents/17319/17319E.pdf, do call for a consideration of both cumulative impacts and oil tanker traffic).
    In a letter sent to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his cabinet minister, the environmental coalition said the pipeline raises significant environmental, sociocultural, legal and economic issues. “In our view, a project of such sweeping magnitude calls for a decision-making process that is similarly broad in scope — one that honours the laws and responsibilities of First Nations, addresses the perspective of all affected communities, and considers the project in the context of the much larger policy questions that are raised by the prospect of an oil pipeline and oil tankers on the coast,” the letter says.
    The environmental coalition includes urban-based organizations like West Coast Environmental Law, the Dogwood Initiative, the Pembina Institute and ForestEthics, but also northern B.C.-based groups like North West Watch, the Headwaters Initiative and the SkeenaWild Conservation Trust. Groups like the Dogwood Initiatives – which has a director on its board from northern B.C. – claim support from 100 to 150 people in the Prince George area.
    Josh Paterson, a lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law, said the intention is not to tell people what to think of the project, but that people in the province be given an opportunity to make an informed decision.
    “In a region where salmon is so important, in a region that really depends so much on its environment, both for economics, but also for lifestyle, a project that brings this much risk for such a little amount of gain attached to it, should really be looked at skeptically,” he said.
    Paterson acknowledged that West Coast Environmental Law is opposed to the project.
    The proposed 1,170-km pipeline would carry oil from Alberta’s tar sands through northern B.C. to Kitimat, where it would be loaded on tankers for shipment to the U.S. west coast or Asia.
    Asia offers an alternate market for oil from Alberta, which almost all flows to the U.S. via pipelines.
    The proposed pipeline travels near Prince George, at Bear Lake, and will cross more than 1,000 rivers and streams.
    Harris, the Cariboo-Prince George MP, noted that as industrial projects like Enbridge’s pipeline move forward they inevitably attract protest from group’s that will use any method to put a stop to them. Harris noted that a public inquiry would likely hold the project up. “I know that a company like Enbridge does not for a minute believe they can get anything through the easy way. They do their homework, and they know the regulatory requirements, they know the environmental law, and they know they have to meet them before they can get past the review panels and the final word on their project,” observed Harris.
    Roger Harris, Enbridge’s vice-president of community and aboriginal affairs, said his main concern is that the public are informed of what the review process does entail. He noted that in his estimation the environmental groups’ assertions were inaccurate, adding that the federal joint review by the National Energy Board and Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency also includes an examination of such big-picture issues as the need for the project.
    Harris also noted that public inquiries don’t normally have binding conclusions.
    “Make sure what you are looking for is what you get. . . . You may end up picking a process that doesn’t work for you,” said Harris, who resides in Terrace in B.C.’s northwest and is a former B.C. Liberal MLA.
    Enbridge had shelved the project in late 2006, but put it back on the front burner early in 2008 after securing $100 million from Western oil producers and key Asian refiners to get the project through the regulatory process under the NEB and the CEAA.
    Key issues in the complex project – described by Enbridge as the largest crude oil pipeline expansion in North America – include mountainous terrain, the hundreds of river crossings and a tanker terminal at Kitimat.
    Thousands of workers will be needed during the estimated three-year construction period, but relatively few when complete. It’s estimated that 50 permanent workers in Kitimat will be needed and a handful of workers along the route.
    Enbridge has said it plans to file its environmental application this year.
    A two-year assessment timeline – should the company get approval – puts the start of the three-year construction period beyond 2012.


  4. Laila

    Thanks for bringing this over Astro, because although I’ve been working on my Basi/VirkBasi report, you reminded me of something I saved the other day that needs to be distributed. AS below, here is the link to the page it is from: http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/document-eng.cfm?documentID=38064
    Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

    Public Notice
    Proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline Project
    Availability of Funding to Participate in Environmental Review

    The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is making available $600,000 under its Participant Funding Program to assist groups and individuals to participate in the environmental review for the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline Project.

    A joint panel will conduct the review in accordance with the requirements of both the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the National Energy Board Act.

    This funding is being made available to help successful applicants review and comment on the environmental impact statement that will be prepared by the proponent, Gateway Pipeline Inc. The funding may also be used to prepare for and participate in the public hearings that will be announced at a later date.

    Funding applications received by the Agency by September 21, 2009, will be considered. A funding review committee, independent of the review process, will consider all applications and make recommendations on the allocation of funds.

    Information on the funding program, the proposed project, and the environmental assessment process is available on the Agency’s Web site, registry number 06-05-21799.

    To apply for funding or to obtain more information on the program, contact:

    Suzanne Osborne, Participant Funding Program
    Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
    160 Elgin St., 22nd floor
    Ottawa ON K1A 0H3
    Tel.: 1-866-582-1884 / 613-957-0254
    Fax: 613-948-9172

    Gateway Pipeline Inc. proposes to construct and operate pipelines, 1170 km in length, between an inland terminal near Edmonton, Alberta, and a marine terminal near Kitimat, British Columbia. Approximately 500 km of the pipeline will be in Alberta and 670 km in British Columbia. The project will include an export oil sands product pipeline, an import condensate pipeline, terminal facilities, integrated marine infrastructure at tidewater to accommodate loading and unloading of oil and condensate tankers, and marine transportation of oil and condensate.


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