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Group: Approval of Northern Gateway pipeline not worth the risk

Posted: June 27, 2014 - 12:00am

The consequences to British Columbia’s wild salmon alone from Northern Gateway’s proposed oil tankers and Kitimat oil terminal are not worth taking, according to a statement from the Raincoast Conservation Foundation in response to the Canadian federal government’s announcement this week rubber stamping the Joint Review Panel’s recommendation.

As proposed, a twin pipeline will carry more than 500,000 gallons of crude oil per day from Northern Alberta, through Northern British Columbia, to the deep-water port of Kitimat B.C. at the head of the Douglas Channel.

The group is opposing the project namely because they fear dire environmental impacts and have cited the devastation left in the wake of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

More than 5,000 spawning populations of wild salmon come from the watersheds that surround the tanker routes between Kitimat estuary and Haida Gwaii, the group’s statement said. These salmon are grouped into 250 irreplaceable biological units. They represent 58 percent of the Pacific salmon on Canada’s West coast and are the backbone of remarkable coastal ecosystems, the iconic wildlife that rely on these fish, and the basis of multi-million dollar economies in eco tourism, salmon-based tourism and the salmon resource sector.

The Raincoast report, “Embroiled: Salmon, Tankers and the Enbridge Northern Gateway Proposal,” examined the connection between the Northern Gateway activities and how those activities will adversely affect salmon. The report found that Enbridge failed to assess the potential impacts to these fish, and did not undertake a risk assessment suitable to determine ecological, social or economic consequences. In addition, the report stated Enbridge and the Canadian federal government dismiss consequences to wild salmon based on superficial reviews and studies that collected no empirical data on salmon.

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