May 31st, 2013
Christy Clark’s 5 Conditions for Heavy Oil Pipeline Consideration have not been met, launching a frenzy of media statements claiming that the Province of British Columbia has rejected Enbridge Northern Gateway’s proposal.
The truth is that the Province has simply rejected the proposal for now, stating that as it sits, ENGP’s proposal does not meet the 5 conditions laid out by Christy Clark’s government in July of last year. Specifically, the Province outlines that the spill-response measures outlined in the proponents application to build a crude oil pipeline from Alberta’s Tar Sands to the Great Bear Sea has not presented sufficient evidence of effective spill response.
The Province has recognized that Northern Gateway has not met an adequate level of safety and environmental standards, “that NG should not be granted a certificate on the basis of a promise to do more study and planning once the certificate is granted”. “Trust me is not good enough in this case”, states the Province’s Final Written Argument.
This is good news, but should be approached with cautious optimism.
The Province’s language is weak, and is not binding in any way. This announcement is essentially a re-assertion of the 5 Conditions and still leaves room for approval of the project at the Federal level.
For now we can quietly, and temporarily, celebrate the fact that the Province has sent a strong message to Ottawa. However this ‘opposition’ must be taken with a grain of salt, as really all that the province is asking for is “clear, measurable and enforceable conditions that require NG to live up to the commitments it has made”. Whether or not this is anything more than political posturing remains to be seen.