Enbridge is proposing the construction of a 1,177 km stretch of twin pipeline linking Alberta’s oil sands to a shipping port on the northern coast of British Columbia. Once constructed, the pipeline would move nearly 525,000 barrels of petroleum per day westward, from just outside Edmonton to a marine terminal in Kitimat, B.C. where it would travel by tanker to markets in western United States and Asia. Moving eastbound along the same right-of-way, a smaller pipe will transport natural gas condensate- used to thin petroleum products for transport in pipelines- back to Edmonton.
More details on Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway project can be found here: www.gatewayfacts.ca
The Joint Review Panel (JRP) of the National Energy Board (NEB) issued its report on December 17, 2013. It has recommended that the Federal Cabinet approve the construction of the Northern Gateway Pipeline with 209 conditions. These conditions are listed below and address the many concerns raised by the intervenors at the hearings. The JRP clearly was listening to the concerns expressed by all.
The following is a quote from the report published by the JRP. The full report can be found at http://gatewaypanel.review-examen.gc.ca/clf-nsi/dcmnt/rcmndtnsrprt/rcmndtnsrprt-eng.html It is recommended reading.
“We recommend approval of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, subject to the 209 conditions set out in Volume 2 of our report. We have concluded that the project would be in the public interest. We find that the project’s potential benefits for Canada and Canadians outweigh the potential burdens and risks.
We have taken a careful and precautionary approach in assessing the project. We are of the view that opening Pacific Basin markets is important to the Canadian economy and society. Societal and economic benefits can be expected from the project. We find that the environmental burdens associated with project construction and routine operation can generally be effectively mitigated.
Some environmental burdens may not be fully mitigated in spite of reasonable best efforts and techniques. Continued monitoring, research, and adaptive management of these issues may lead to improved mitigation and further reduction of adverse effects. We acknowledge that this project may require some people and local communities to adapt to temporary disruptions during construction.
The environmental, societal, and economic burdens of a large oil spill, while unlikely and not permanent, would be significant. Through our conditions we require Northern Gateway to implement appropriate and effective spill prevention measures and spill
response capabilities, so that the likelihood and consequences of a large spill would be minimized. Pipeline spill prevention measures would include pipeline routing, design, materials, construction techniques, maintenance, and operating procedures that support the integrity of the pipelines and keep the products contained in the system.
Tanker spill prevention measures would include tanker design, inspection, and maintenance, and Northern Gateway’s Tanker Acceptance Program, Terminal Regulations, operational limits, and the use of pilots and escort tugs. Spill response planning and capabilities would address potential scenarios and contingencies on land and water, and would be tested through live exercises.
We recommend that project effects, in combination with cumulative effects, be foundlikely to be significant for certain populations of woodland caribou and grizzly bear. We used a precautionary approach in arriving at our view. Despite substantial mitigation proposed by Northern Gateway, there is uncertainty over the effectiveness of Northern Gateway’s proposed mitigation to control access and achieve the goal of no net gain, or net decrease, in linear feature density. We recommend that the Governor in Council find these cases of significant adverse environmental effects are justified in the circumstances.
It is our view that, after mitigation, the likelihood of significant adverse environmental effects resulting from project malfunctions or accidents is very low. For all of the above reasons, we are of the view that, overall, the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, constructed and operated in full compliance with the conditions we required, is in the Canadian public interest. We find that Canadians will be better off with this project than without it.
Our recommendation takes into account the conditions we set out in Appendix 1 of Volume 2, including all commitments made by Northern Gateway during the hearing process. This conclusion reflects our consideration of the entire record of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project proceeding, including the environmental and social effects we assessed under provisions of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012.
We therefore recommend to the Governor in Council that Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity incorporating our conditions be issued pursuant to the National Energy Board Act.”
It is important to understand the conditions imposed by the JRP. The conditions are summarized here.
With the fulfillment of the “209 Conditions”, we fully support the Northern Gateway Pipeline. Completion of this project will generate significant economic benefit to BC and to Canada to allow for continued support for needed social programs and health care. Continued expansion of the oil sands will also enrich BC with direct jobs and trading opportunities.
The pipeline construction and operation will use all experience from past projects. The standards for construction and operation will the most stringent of any pipeline in Canada. The pipeline will be monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If any change occurs in temperature, pressure or flow rate, the pipeline will be shut down. Canadian pipelines have operated at a 99.9 % safety record.
Considering the economic value of the project and the great amount of planning and involvement of regulators, British Columbians for Prosperity endorses the construction of Northern Gateway pipeline. A recent announcement of Kitimat Clean Ltd to build a pipeline and a refinery is a complimentary project to Northern Gateway. Each project is targeting completely different markets and each is viable on their own merits.