3,500 protest against Northern Gateway; company still to go ahead

Thousands of people jammed the front lawn of Canada’s British Columbian parliament on Monday to oppose Enbridge’s controversial $5.5-billion pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to the country’s West Coast.

But the company behind the projected Northern Gateway duct had its own message for the crowd.

Enbridge vice president, Janet Holder, told CKNW News the company would go ahead with its plans despite opposition, taking every precaution to prevent an oil spill from happening.

The company estimates that opening up Asian markets to Canadian oil would boost Canada’s GDP by $270 billion over 30 years, and would generate $81 billion in direct and indirect revenues to the federal and provincial governments. Of that, B.C. would receive about $6 billion, while Ottawa would receive about $36 billion and Alberta $32 billion.

The controversial project consists of two pipelines: one transporting oil in a westerly direction from Bruderheim, Alta., to the port of Kitimat, B.C., from there it would be shipped to international markets in Asia and the northwestern United States; and the other pipeline would carry imported natural-gas condensate in the opposite direction. The condensate is a toxic mix of liquid hydrocarbons that forms during the extraction of natural gas and is used as a thinning agent to dilute and help transport heavy oils like bitumen.

The majority of the pipeline will be underground, with the exception of a few water crossings where it is deemed safer to run the pipes above water.

The project would also include the building of a new marine terminal in Kitimat.

Another province-wide protest is expected to happen Wednesday in B.C.’s legislative capital —Victoria— and at MLA offices in 55 communities.

Image: Protest against Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline in Vancouver, March 2012. 


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