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The Enbridge Pipeline & Tankers Project: Dead or resting?

September 17, 2014

Northern Gateway’s President, John Carruthers, now accepts that the start date for the Enbridge Pipeline and Tankers Project – which Enbridge had expected in 2018 – is “fast evaporating”, due to the need to meet with First Nations. That’s a remarkable admission, coming from someone whose project depends upon maintaining the charade that this project is alive and well, and not dead at all. Many of us were reminded of Monty Python’s famous dead parrot sketch.

The reality is that this project has been on life-support for some time, and we stand by our prediction that the pipeline will never be built:

[I]t is … that public and First Nations opposition, and their determination to prevent the environmental impacts, that make the Enbridge proposal an economic dead end.  The JRP Panel report seems to recommend that the project go ahead, but reading the report closely, it’s clear: if we hold the wall, the Enbridge Pipelines and Tankers Project is going nowhere.

Even journalists who (incorrectly, our view) dismiss public opposition as based on emotion see Carruther’s statement as a recognition that the project will never be built

It appears Enbridge leadership is only now starting to accept that they can do everything right but still won't be able to build Northern Gateway. … That's because opposition to Northern Gateway now extends far beyond tree-hugging environmentalists and First Nations asserting their authority over their traditional territories. The polls show a large swath of the adult population now mistrusts Enbridge and fears a catastrophic oil spill, either from the pipeline into a major river system or from a tanker in the Douglas Channel.

We’re not saying, of course, that those opposed to the Enbridge Pipeline and Tankers project can pack up and go home – we need to keep the pressure on Enbridge to recognize the Indigenous Laws that declare tar sands pipelines illegal, and to respect the public opposition from across BC. But we do not believe that there is any way that Enbridge can overcome that wall of opposition.

By Andrew Gage, Staff Lawyer. 

Image adapted from Monty Python’s Flying Circus by Jeanette Ageson, Communications and Development Manager