PM Harper: Science, not politics will decide the fate of Northern Gateway Pipeline

PM Harper: Science, not politics will decide the fate of Northern Gateway Pipeline

Vancouver : Canada | Aug 08, 2012 at 3:33 AM PDT
Views: Pending
An aerial view of an oil sands mine near the town of Fort McMurray in Alberta Province, Canada

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that the Northern Gateway pipeline project will be approved on the basis of science, not politics. The Prime Minister has been under pressure by the opposition parties and has been demonized for including changes of environmental laws in his omnibus budget bill. Despite fillibusting the bill was passed by the majority conservative government and the conservative dominated Senate.

One of the keynote changes in the bill is the approval process for environmental assessments. The bill imposes a two year limit on the National Energy Board Review.

The Alberta oil sands are the favourite whipping child of environmentalists. Using outdated data they have demonized Alberta's bituman crude oil and of course aerial photographs taken from carbon spewing helicopters have been used to make their point. This totally disregards the land reclaiming process in place.

Enbridge, a Calgary based pipeline company, has been under fire lately for several spills, including the latest in Wisconsin, which has just been cleared to continue operation. The incidents have raised doubts on the safety of pipelines and the operators ability for a timely response.

The Northern Gateway Pipeline became the centre of a very public dispute between British Columbia's Premier Christie Clark and Alberta's Alison Redford.

Christie has demanded that five conditions should be met including a fair share of the royalties to cover the risks taken by BC by permitting the pipeline.

PM Harper was also pressed on that issue by reporters and said that he has no intention of getting in the middle of this dispute or discuss how to divide hypothetical royalties.

"I'm not going to share with you any private conversations with any premier. I'm not going to get into an argument or discussion about how we divide hypothetical revenues."

Harper said that the environmental review would end by the end of 2013 and that it would take approximately another six months before the Cabinet would decide on the fate of the pipeline.

The Premier of the North West Territories had earlier indicated an interest of having a pipeline constructed to move oil north and then to Asian markets. The Prime Minister was also pressed on his views on such a project.

He replied that all such projects would go through a thorough independent process.

"All such projects will go through a thorough independent assessment. In a broad sense, without getting into the specifics of any project, we think it's obviously in the vital interests of Canada and in the vital interests of British Columbia. As Canada's Asia-Pacific gateway, the economic growth we expect to have here in the future is going to be based on commerce with the Asia-Pacific region and we think it's important that we continue to diversify our exports through this province," Haper said.

What has been discussed with the Premier of BC and the Premier of Alberta is not being discussed. In the end Clark and Christie will have to reach some sort of an accommodation. A big factor will be the environmental review process, perceived and real risks and the co-operation of first nations.

With a heated issue, such as the Northern Gateway Pipeline, the federal government will not be in a position to approve the project without sound science behind it. A political decision would be self-destructive.

Enbridge has been put on notice to clean up its act and it is up to the pipeline giant to to assure the public that it is capable of eliminating most risks associated with pipelines. The second issue will be increased oil tanker traffic on Canada's west coast.

1 of 2
Stephen Harper Prime Minister of Canada
Northern Gateway Pipeline approval will be based on science, not politics
Karl Gotthardt is based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
Report Credibility
  • Clear
  • Share:
  • Share
  • Clear
  • Clear
  • Clear
  • Clear

News Stories

  • Ottawa to stay out of B.C.-Alberta fight over Gateway revenues

      The Globe and Mail
    Story The Prime Minister's cautious comments were his most detailed on Gateway since divisions emerged between B.C and Alberta over the proposed $6-billion project, which would pipe oil sands bitumen from Alberta to the B.C coast for shipment to...
  • Harper in B.C. amid mixed signals on Gateway pipeline

      Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
    Prime Minister Stephen Harper's visit to British Columbia so far has sidestepped the divisive politics emerging from Enbridge's controversial Northern Gateway pipeline project, but questions may resurface Tuesday about whether his government's...
  • Enbridge OK with Harper stance on pipeline

      United Press International
    A spokesman for Canadian pipeline company Enbridge said he was "comfortable" with decisions on a proposed pipeline from Alberta oil sands projects. Enbridge aims to construct the Northern Gateway oil pipeline to deliver so-called tar sands oil to...
  • Canada gets tough with Northern Gateway

      United Press International
    A Canadian energy director said he'd take "any measure" to ensure a timeline for the planned Northern Gateway oil pipeline is met...Enbridge to deliver an assessment on the proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline. The National Energy Board, in a...
  • B.C. would pocket $4.7b from Enbridge pipeline construction: study

      Vancouver Sun
    Alberta may get the vast majority of the bounty from an expected jump in oilsands crude sales, but B.C. will pocket most of the more modest benefits from the construction and operation of West Coast-bound pipelines, according to a study released...
  • B.C. has most to gain from pipelines: Study

      Delhi News-Record
    A new study suggests British Columbia stands to gain more from the construction of two proposed pipelines than any other province -- including Alberta. Thursday the combined value from the construction of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline and...





More From Allvoices

Related People

Report Your News Got a similar story?
Add it to the network!

Or add related content to this report

Use of this site is governed by our Terms of Use Agreement and Privacy Policy.

© Allvoices, Inc. 2008-2014. All rights reserved. Powered by PulsePoint.