Pipeline protesters to rally at B.C. MLA offices
Opponents of the Northern Gateway oil pipeline have vowed to rally in front of MLA offices across British Columbia on Wednesday.
The Defend Our Coast group, which organized a mass protest against Enbridge’s proposed pipeline at the B.C. legislature Monday, claims to have more than 3,000 registered supporters ready to go at 66 community locations.
Premier Christy Clark’s office is expected to draw one of the largest crowds, despite her months of highly-publicized skepticism about the project.
Clark blasted Enbridge again on Tuesday for failing to address any of the five demands the BC Liberals laid out for the project in July.
“We are not getting the answers we need out of Enbridge to give us a sense of security that our environment is going to be adequately protected,” she said.
The conditions included that Enbridge implement world-leading spill prevention and response systems for land and sea, outline clear fiscal benefits for B.C., complete an environmental review and address aboriginal concerns.
But a recent poll suggested Clark’s words haven’t earned her any political points, and critics have accused the province of stalling and using the conditions to avoid giving a definitive answer on the pipeline issue.
Most of Enbridge’s plans about the $8-billion pipeline are already available; thousands of documents detailing the route, protective measures and disaster response have been filed before the National Energy Board’s Joint Review Panel that is assessing the project.
Clark said her government has already reviewed the documents, but is hoping to learn more at the panel hearings.
“The process we’re in now is the cross-examination process,” Clark said. “When you get a chance to question the proponent directly, you get better answers. In many cases you get much, much more information. And so what we’re learning through the cross-examination process has been extremely valuable.”
The NEB won’t make a decision about Northern Gateway until the end of 2013, well after the next provincial election – leaving protesters anxious for a clear, unequivocal stance from the government.
Defend Our Coast has also organized a protest outside Adrian Dix’s office Wednesday, even though the NDP opposition leader confirmed his opposition to the pipeline over the summer.
Reports suggest the protesters want Dix to take a similar stand against the proposed twinning of the Kinder Morgan pipeline that ships oil from Alberta to tankers in the Burrard Inlet.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Scott Roberts