Enbridge to speak to Northern Gateway Pipeline review panel for first time Tuesday
Published Monday, September 3, 2012 5:36PM MDT
Last Updated Monday, September 3, 2012 6:25PM MDT
Enbridge will get the chance to address the review panel for the Northern Gateway Pipeline for the first time on Tuesday, as the next phase of hearings for the project resume in Edmonton.
The Calgary-based company is hoping to move forward with construction of a $5.5 billion pipeline that would carry more than half a million barrels of crude oil 1,200 kilometres from Alberta to Kitimat, B.C., where it would then be shipped to Asian markets.
The review panel has heard from stakeholders along the proposed pipeline route for nine months and for the first time since the hearings began, the company will have its say during the questioning phase that begins Tuesday.
“We’re ready to present our plan,” Ivan Giesbrecht, a spokesperson for Enbridge, told CTV News on Monday.
“This is going to be the first time for Enbridge to be able to share our plan publicly and lend our voice to these proceedings so we’re very much looking forward to this.”
The Northern Gateway Pipeline is expected to generate $270 billion in economic growth in Canada over the next three decades, but many oppose the project.
There have been protests and rallies and members of First Nations even travelled from B.C. to the steps of the Alberta legislature in May to voice their concerns.
They’re worried the pipeline is a disaster waiting to happen.
“The pipeline route that they have proposed is following the most major river systems that we have,” said Chief John Ridsdale of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation.
“When the river is ruined, the people are ruined, the land is ruined.”
Enbridge has been in the spotlight for recent oil spills on its lines in the U.S.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board recently released a report citing control room deficiencies leading to the 2010 spill in Michigan, when 20,000 barrels of crude spilled into the Kalamazoo River.
But the company says it’s learned and made changes from the incidents.
“These were humbling incidents for our company and we’ve taken a lot of lessons from those incidents and we’re applying them to our operations. We believe that once people begin to learn the facts about the project, they will come to support it,” Giesbrecht said.
“We want to present our plan. We want to present the facts. We believe that once people begin to learn the facts about the project, they will come to support it and so we want to engage in dialogue with everybody that has a stake in this.”
The pipeline proposal has also been at the centre of a rift between Alberta Premier Alison Redford and B.C. Premier Christy Clark.
Clark has said she wants B.C. to receive a bigger cut of royalties for the Northern Gateway Pipeline but Redford has refused to negotiate on royalties.
The federal government has added pressure on the project as well, by announcing in August that an environmental assessment of the project must be completed no later than Dec. 2013.
This next phase of hearings is expected to last until the end of the year.
Click here to find out locations and times for when the hearings will take place in Edmonton.
With files from Amanda Anderson