Gateway to disaster
Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Project
Through enormous effort led by B.C.'s First Nations and supported by citizens and organizations across the province, approval of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project has been overturned by the Federal Court of Appeal. Fighting this project took nearly a decade of hard work: thousands of people focused their lives on preventing Northern Gateway from happening, and small coastal communities were put under tremendous pressure to show that this coast should not be put at risk by crude oil tanker traffic. Until we have an official ban on tanker traffic, Enbridge and other powerful corporations will continue to seek a way to ship hydrocarbons through the Great Bear Sea. Pacific Wild remains determined to advocate for a quiet, tanker-free ocean, keeping our coast safe from oil spills and protecting the incredible biodiversity of the Great Bear Sea. We are thrilled that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called for a moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic through the Great Bear Rainforest, but until it is in place, and comprehensively covers all major shipping of petroleum products, this issue remains unresolved.
In December 2013, a federally-appointed Joint Review Panel (JRP) recommended that the Canadian government approve Enbridge Inc.'s pipeline and tanker project. In June of 2014, the Federal government agreed to allow Enbridge to proceed with the project, subject to 209 conditions. Enbridge's proposed twin 1,170km pipeline would carry 525,000 barrels of bitumen oil daily from the Alberta tar sands to the port of Kitimat in northern B.C. and would also permit 193,000 barrels of toxic condensate (oil-thinning natural gas used to dilute the thick, tar-like substance to make it transportable) daily to be piped eastwards simultaneously.
The pipeline would cut through the Rocky Mountains and into the Great Bear Rainforest, crossing more than 800 rivers and the territories of over 50 First Nations. As well as fragmenting wildlife-rich habitat including critical corridors for large carnivores and ungulates, the pipeline would bring the risk of spills to some of the world’s most important salmon spawning rivers.
The project would also introduce Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs), or “supertankers” to northern British Columbia’s sensitive coastal waters. These vessels would transit the formidable Hecate Strait, which Environment Canada has identified as one of the most treacherous bodies of water to navigate on Earth.
Enbridge’s history of pipeline leaks (over 800 recorded to date) seriously calls into question the company's claims of “world-class” environmental standards. This dismal track record coupled with the frequency of tanker accidents worldwide (205 tanker spills of more than seven tonnes each took place between 1996 and 2006) paints a troubling picture. Given the hazards of Enbridge’s proposed tanker route, First Nations, scientists, engineers and many others warned that if their plans went ahead, it would only be a question of time before catastrophe hits the Great Bear.
Pacific Wild has collaborated with talented filmmakers to bring you three documentaries that explore the real and potential impacts of Enbridge Northern Gateway to the Great Bear Rainforest. Oil in Eden is an essential 16-minute film explaining the key issues in the battle to keep oil tankers and pipelines out of B.C.'s fragile Pacific coast. Multi-award winning documentaries Stand and spOIL tell the tales of a surf/SUP and photographic expedition – both aiming to raise awareness and protest against the Northern Gateway project.
Take Action for a ban on all oil tanker traffic through the Great Bear Sea