VICTORIA – British Columbia’s New Democrats have formally registered opposition to Enbridge’s (TSX:ENB) controversial proposal to build a pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to a port in northern B.C., arguing the risks outweigh the benefits.
Official Opposition leader Adrian Dix and 35 MLAs signed the 11-page letter sent on Monday to the National Energy Board’s joint review panel, which is tasked with assessing the Northern Gateway project.
“Under the Enbridge proposal, British Columbia would assume almost all the project’s risk, yet would see only a fraction of the benefits,” said Dix in a release. “By any measure, such a high-risk, low-return approach simply isn’t in B.C.’s interests.”
In January, a three-member panel began public hearings to asses the environmental effects of the $5.5 billion plan to transport crude through a 1,177-kilometre twin pipeline for collection by huge oil tankers that will ship it to Asia and the United States.
A host of groups have already voiced concerns over the massive undertaking, complete with a variety of protest rallies.
That includes a declaration signed by more than 60 B.C. First Nations and aboriginal organizations, and more opposition from at least B.C. three cities and a regional district. The Union of B.C. Municipalities has also passed a motion against the project.
The governing B.C. Liberals have said they’re waiting for the panel’s report before taking a stand.
Within the letter, the NDP lists six key concerns that prompted its conclusion.
It says that lifting the current oil tanker moratorium will put B.C.’s coastline in jeopardy, could create danger for habitats in the nearly 800 streams it must cross and would severely affect First Nations communities if a spill occurred.