THE NDP caucus has written and signed a letter detailing its opposition to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline and sent it to the National Energy Board Joint Review Panel, which will decide whether the project will go ahead.
The three northwest MLAs – North Coast MLA Gary Coons, Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson and Skeena NDP MLA Robin Austin – have made their opposition to the project known but this letter is significant, said Austin.
“This is significant because it’s signed by every member of the NDP caucus, including [opposition leader] Adrian Dix,” he said.
The 11-page letter talks about a number of issues, including the importance of sustainable economic development, risks outweighing benefits and oil spill impact plus two pages of footnotes and a page with all 35 caucus member signatures on it.
The caucus’ main concerns are:
tanker traffic will put the B.C. coastline at serious risk of environmental and economic damage form potential oil spills;
the pipeline will cross remote and highly valued areas of B.C. and almost 800 streams, putting valuable environments and species, such as salmon, at risk;
the impact of an oil leak or spill would be more severely felt by First Nation communities;
greenhouse gas emissions generated by pipeline-related oil sands development will contribute to the economic, environmental and social costs of climate change;
the pipeline provides few long-term and sustainable economic benefits for B.C.;
and the pipeline is forecast to increase Canadian oil prices for Canadian consumers.