VICTORIA - Mary Polak, Minister of Environment issued the following statement on the federal decision to approve the Northern Gateway Pipeline.
“Today’s decision from the federal government is not a surprise, given their regulatory responsibilities and the recommendation from the Joint Review Panel.
"However, our position on the Northern Gateway Pipeline is unchanged. Northern Gateway still has a lot of work to do to meet British Columbia’s five conditions.
"So far, this project has only met B.C.’s first condition - the successful completion of the federal environmental review process.
"There are four more conditions set by B.C. that have not been met. Those conditions are:
- World-leading marine oil spill response, prevention and recovery systems for B.C.'s coastline and ocean to manage and mitigate the risks and costs of heavy-oil pipelines and shipments;
- World-leading practices for land oil spill prevention, response and recovery systems to manage and mitigate the risks and costs of heavy-oil pipelines;
- Legal requirements regarding Aboriginal and treaty rights are addressed, and First Nations are provided with the opportunities, information and resources necessary to participate in and benefit from a heavy-oil project; and
- British Columbia receives a fair share of the fiscal and economic benefits of a proposed heavy-oil project that reflects the level, degree and nature of the risk borne by the province, the environment and taxpayers.
"Our government has consistently stated that all new and expanded heavy oil pipeline proposals must meet these five conditions before British Columbia will consider supporting them.
"While meeting the five conditions requires work from all those involved, we have seen increasing recognition and acceptance of them, from all levels of government and the proponents behind heavy oil pipeline proposals.
"Northern Gateway must also meet the 209 conditions set by the Joint Review Panel. 65 of those conditions require public consultation, including with First Nations, and more than 100 must be met before construction can even begin.
"We need to ensure that B.C.’s concerns around the environment, First Nations’ participation and overall economic benefit are taken seriously.
"We understand the economic benefits that the Northern Gateway project may bring, but it will not be at the cost of our environment.
"At the end of the day, we want to ensure any heavy oil pipeline development is done in a safe, responsible manner. “
Ministry of Environment