Green Party calls on Harper administration to heed federal panel’s warnings on Northern Gateway

In the wake of today’s announcement from the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project Joint Review Panel (JRP), the Green Party of Canada is urging the Harper Conservatives to respect the will of British Columbians and reject the contentious pipeline proposal.

Today, more than three years after they began their review process, the panel tasked with assessing the environmental effects of the Northern Gateway pipeline officially made public their recommendation that the plan be approved, pending 209 regulatory conditions.

Elizabeth May, Green Party of Canada Leader and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands, called on the Federal Cabinet to reject the proposal, stating that the project posed grave risks, both economically and environmentally. “It is not acceptable to have the Harper administration pushing for the project as though it is an economic boon, for which environmental concerns are an impediment to progress,” said May.

“As economist Robyn Allan has pointed out, the whole project represents a threat to Canada’s economy and to our region’s ecological health. The project’s large-scale risks need to be weighed against the economic reality that the benefits are to multinationals and other countries’ refineries.”

Bruce Hyer, MP for Thunder Bay–Superior North and the newest member of the Green Party caucus, stated that he was disappointed in the Panel’s decision. “Northern Gateway would put British Columbia’s coastal rainforest and wild salmon industry at incredible risk, all while shipping Canadian jobs and resources overseas,” said Hyer. “We need forward-thinking resource development that protects Canadian energy security and creates value-added jobs here at home.”

The Northern Gateway pipeline would run for nearly 1,200 km, transporting diluted oil sands bitumen through endangered wildlife habitats and the traditional territories of some 40 First Nations, from Bruderheim, AB to Kitimat, BC. The BC government has officially rejected the current proposal for the pipeline. The Federal Cabinet must issue a final decision on Northern Gateway by July 2014.