Tar sands project suffers setback as British Columbia rejects pipeline

From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jun/01/tar-sands-canada-pipeline-enbridge

Canadian province rejects plan for Enbridge Northern Gateway, saying company failed to demonstrate adequate clean-up plan

, US environment correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Friday 31 May 2013

Efforts to expand production from the Alberta tar sands suffered a significant setback on Friday when the provincial government of British Columbia rejected a pipeline project because of environmental shortcomings.

In a strongly worded statement, the government of the province said it was not satisfied with the pipeline company’s oil spill response plans.

The rejection of the pipeline – which was to have given Alberta an outlet to Pacific coast ports and markets in China – further raises the stakes on another controversial tar sands pipeline, Keystone XL.

Barack Obama is still weighing a decision on that pipeline, intended to pump tar sands crude to the Texas gulf coast.

British Columbia, in its official submission to a pipeline review panel, said the company had failed to demonstrate an adequate clean-up plan for the Enbridge Northern Gateway project. It set five new conditions for the project’s approval.

“Northern Gateway has presented little evidence about how it will respond in the event of a spill,” Christopher Jones, a lawyer representing the province, said in a statement to the federal government panel reviewing the project.

“It is not clear from the evidence that Northern Gateway will in fact be able to respond effectively to spills either from the pipeline itself, or from tankers transporting diluted bitumen,” Jones added.

Jones said the pipeline would cross over remote and extremely difficult terrain, with pristine rivers that could be devastated in the event of a spill. He said those considerations compelled the province to hold the pipeline company to a higher standard. “Trust me is not good enough in this case.”

Officials in British Columbia said Friday’s decision would not necessarily kill off the project for good. But the demand for more stringent protections poses additional challenges to Enbridge’s plans of building the pipeline.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jun/01/tar-sands-canada-pipeline-enbridge

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