Anti-pipeline group to protest at B.C. political offices
Published Wednesday, October 24, 2012 7:05AM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 24, 2012 7:10AM MDT
An anti-pipeline group that organized a massive rally at British Columbia’s legislature earlier this week is promising similar protests at politicians’ offices throughout the province Wednesday.
Defend Our Coast, a group fighting Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, says it has organized rallies at 66 community locations, including MLA offices, with a total of 3,000 supporters signed up. A particularly large crowd is expected outside the office of Premier Christy Clark, despite her vowed skepticism about the project’s benefit to her province.
The National Energy Board has set the end of 2013 as its target timeline for a decision on the controversial pipeline -- a date beyond the province’s next election. Protesters say they want a clear stance on the project from the government before B.C. goes to the polls.
Defend Our Coast has also organized a demonstration outside the office of NDP leader Adrian Dix, who has already sworn his opposition to the pipeline. There are reports the group would like Dix to oppose the twinning of another pipeline that runs from the oilsands to the B.C. coast, the Kinder Morgan, which ends at Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet.
On Tuesday, Clark again complained that the energy giant had failed to address any of the BC Liberals’ key demands for the Northern Gateway project, which were laid out in July. They want the company to fit the pipeline with advanced spill-protection and response systems, to lay out the benefits for the province, complete an environmental review and appropriately address the concerns of the aboriginal populations whose traditional lands will be impacted.
“We are not getting the answers we need out of Enbridge to give us a sense of security that our environment is going to be adequately protected,” she said.
Clark’s critics, however, say she’s just stalling, and have accused her of trying to avoid making a decision on whether the $8-billion project can proceed. A recent poll indicated her stance hasn’t earned her much political clout.
Enbridge has so far released thousands of documents detailing the route, protective measures and disaster response plans it would enact with the project, filing the documents with the National Energy Board’s Joint Review Panel. The premier said her government has seen the documents but wants to see what comes out of the panel’s hearings.
“The process we’re in now is the cross-examination process,” Clark said. “When you get a chance to question the proponent directly, you get better answers. In many cases you get much, much more information. And so what we’re learning through the cross-examination process has been extremely valuable.”
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Scott Roberts