Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline project had yet another setback last week.
The National Energy Board (NEB) decided to suspend its review of Northern Gateway’s request for a three-year extension to start building its controversial pipeline.
Northern Gateway said the extension would’ve allowed time to receive legal and regulatory certainty and to continue discussions with First Nations communities. In particular, the company said this would’ve allowed time to advance dialogue with coastal communities in Northwest B.C.
The NEB will also suspend its review of any filings from Northern Gateway regarding compliance with the 209 conditions attached to the project.
These decisions were made in response to the recent Federal Court of Appeal decision to overturn the 2014 conditional approval of Northern Gateway and send the matter back to the federal government for redetermination.
Ivan Giesbrecht, communications manager for Northern Gateway, said the NEB’s announcement was an expected outcome after the recent decision from the Federal Court of Appeal. However, Giesbrecht said Northern Gateway and its Aboriginal equity partners remain “fully committed” to building the project.
In early May 2016, Northern Gateway president John Carruthers admitted that Northern Gateway should’ve done a better job of building relationships with First Nations along the pipeline route.
“While we had the right intentions, we should have done a better job of listening and fostering these critical relationships and developing our plans together as true partners.”
Lake Babine Nation Chief Wilf Adam said no meaningful consultation was conducted with First Nations and that he is pleased that the project’s approval was overturned.
“In my mind this whole process must be scrapped as it’s not the right process and leaves a lot more uncertainty,” said Chief Adam.
Other chiefs in the Burns Lake area, including Wet’suwet’en First Nation former Chief Karen Ogen and Burns Lake Band Chief Dan George, have also repeatedly stated they are against this project.
Enbridge Inc. proposes the construction of a 1200-km twin pipeline that would carry diluted bitumen from Alberta’s oilsands to B.C.’s coast, passing directly through Burns Lake.
The National Energy Board is an independent federal regulator of several parts of Canada’s energy industry. Its purpose is to regulate pipelines, energy development and trade in the Canadian public interest.