JRP Issues hearing Order for Northern Gateway Project

May 6, 2011
Chris Armstrong
Muskeg News


Yesterday, the Joint Review Panel (JRP) for Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project issued a hearing order, which explains how individuals and organizations can participate in the process.

According to the hearing order, community hearings will begin in January 2012. Times and locations have not been released, but the document states that hearings will be held in locations along the proposed pipeline route, as well as Vancouver and Port Hardy.

“The full list of locations will be announced at a later date,” states the document.

The JRP will also hold a series of information sessions, which will explain how the whole process will work. The sessions will run from June 6 to July 15 in at least 15 locations, including Prince Rupert. Specific dates and locations will be advertised in local media and posted on the JRP’s website, states the hearing order.

There are also four main deadlines for anyone who wishes to participate in the community hearings. Intervenors & government participants must register by July 14. Those wishing to make an oral statement must register by October 6. And the deadline for submitting something in writing is March 13, 2012.

The Northern Gateway pipeline is a proposed project that, if it passes regulatory muster, would see the construction of two 1,170-kilometre pipelines from Bruderheim, Alberta to Kitimat, B.C. It would also involved the construction and operation of the Kitimat Marine Terminal.

Opposition to the project, which has been quite significant in Northwest B.C., seems to have grown in the last month. At a Prince Rupert council meeting on April 26, environmentalist Jennifer Rice put the city on notice that she would be conducting a demonstration during the North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA) conference, which will be held in Rupert next week. Rice took issue with the fact that Enbridge is a platinum sponsor of the conference.

Rice is not the only one with concerns. John T. Jones, the chief councillor for Old Massett, has sent his regrets to conference organizers, saying he will no longer be attending.

“As part of the Haida Nation and fighting to save the integrity of our coast line with the large economy and employment that depend on it, I can not allow our council’s representative to attend your conference,” states Jones’ letter, which was emailed to Muskeg News. “Taking money and support from Enbridge sends entirely the wrong message in our minds.”

To that, Enbridge spokesperson Paul Stanway said it is the third year the company has been a sponsor of the NCLGA conference. He also said that, to his knowledge, there were not any comments about Enbridge’s participation in the past.

Environmentalists have also seized on a recent Albertan oil spill as a reason not to build the Northern Gateway pipeline. On April 29, oil started leaking from a Plains Midstream pipeline, about 30 kilometres from Little Buffalo in northern Alberta. A provincial agency said about 4.5 million litres of oil had spilled out of the pipeline, the biggest spill in Alberta since 1975.

“This is another black eye for the oil pipeline industry,” said Rice in a press release through Friends of Wild Salmon. “News of this spill confirms what most Northwest residents already feel: that the risks of the Enbridge proposal are too great.”

But Stanway said Enbridge works hard to address safety concerns. “We take all leaks seriously, whatever the size, and over the decades we have developed a variety of strategies to detect and deal with them,” he wrote in an email to Muskeg News. “I believe our safety record of 99.99% in delivering more than 950 million barrels of petroleum products in 2010 underlines the success of our approach.”

To read original article: http://www.muskegnews.com/jrp-enb2012


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