VANCOUVER — Organizations founded by an American oil baron and a Silicon Valley philanthropist are among the foreign charities being targeted by Enbridge in its battle against critics of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.

Tens of millions of dollars have been donated to conservation groups and initiatives in B.C., for everything from Earth Day celebrations to aboriginal salmon recovery programs.

It’s a point of contention for the pipeline proponent, which has asked the environmental review panel examining the Northern Gateway project to compel funding information from its critics. The panel returns to B.C. this week for final hearings on the controversial project.

And it’s a point of contention for Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, who earlier this year decried the “foreign special interest groups” that “threaten to hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda.”

Specifically, Enbridge has singled out in requests submitted to the panel:

— The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, a California-based organization founded by the co-founder of Intel Corporation that focuses on conservation, scientific research and patient health.

— The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, a California-based social and environmental charity founded by Hewlett-Packard co-founder William R. Hewlett.

— The Rockefeller Foundation, a philanthropic venture of John D. Rockefeller Sr., the American industrialist who founded the Standard Oil Company.

— Tides Canada, a Vancouver-based organization that distributes donations to initiatives on climate change, wilderness protection, marine conservation, aboriginal issues, poverty, and international development.

— The Bullitt Foundation, a fund for environmental, children’s and peace initiatives founded by Seattle philanthropist Dorothy Bullitt, founder of KING Broadcasting Co.

The Bullitt Foundation has awarded almost $1 million over the past 16 years to the David Suzuki Foundation and $735,000 over 13 years to the environmental law group EcoJustice.

Other foundation funding directed toward British Columbia includes: the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre (one grant worth $20,000), Tides Foundation (20 grants totalling $564,000), and the Sierra Club (9 grants worth $210,000).

In August, the Moore Foundation announced $2 million over the next three years for the World Wildlife Fund Canada.

Other 2012 foundation grants to be disbursed in B.C.: Simon Fraser University ($250,000 for a First Nations decision-making and governance project and $611,000 for a study of small-scale hydro projects), as well as $600,000 for Tides Canada’s Canadian freshwater alliance project and $981,000 for Tides Canada Foundation’s wild salmon ecosystem small grants fund.

Several First Nations groups will also receive funds, including the First Nations Fisheries Council ($262,000), the Hartley Bay Village Council ($324,000), Coastal First Nations Turning Point Initiative Society ($314,000), and the Kitasoo-XaiXais ($266,000).

Calls to Enbridge Northern Gateway seeking comment were not returned.

Ivan Thompson, program officer for the Moore Foundation’s Wild Salmon Ecosystem Initiative, suggested the funding is far from nefarious.

“The reason why the Moore Foundation is particularly interested in Canada in terms of environmental conservation funding is because, essentially, salmon and marine systems are collapsing around the world and here in Canada there’s a chance to do it differently,” said Thompson, who is based in Vancouver.

Enbridge is trying to undermine the credibility of its critics, he said.

“We’ve known that Enbridge has an issue with those communities on the coast having the resources to undertake planning, it seems. We would assume that they are continuing to find ways to try and silence voices they don’t like.”

Enbridge raised $100 million just to get the project through the environmental review process, Thompson said.

“The money involved here from charities is nothing compared to that,” he said.

Thompson said the Moore Foundation was even a sponsor of an innovative ocean management plant in conjunction with the federal government — until Enbridge raised objections.

Documents obtained by The Canadian Press using Access to Information legislation confirmed the proponent expressed concerns about the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area, which brought together First Nations, the province, commercial fishermen, shipping interests, tourism operators, local governments, environmentalists and the oil and gas sector to work on a collaborative ocean management plan for the B.C. coast.

“The proponent, as well as the oil and gas and shipping industries, are concerned that ongoing third-party funding provided to the initiative will influence the Integrated Oceans Management plan, as well the outcomes for the panel review of the project,” said an 2011 internal Fisheries and Oceans update on the project.

The Conservative government cancelled its funding of the project a year ago.

And Thompson pointed out that British Columbians still don’t know who all of Enbridge’s partners are in the pipeline project.

The Northern Gateway Pipeline is structured as a limited partnership, with Enbridge having a 50 per cent stake. The remaining stake belongs to 10 private investors, four of whom remain confidential.

According to documents filed with the National Energy Board, the others are: French oil company Total, Suncor (TSX:SU), MEG Energy, Cenovus (TSX:CVE), Nexen (TSX:NXY), the Calgary company at the centre of a takeover bid by Chinese state-owned China National Offshore Oil Co., and Sinopec, China’s largest oil company.

The international funding for environmental causes pales in comparison to the funds these partners have put up to get through the regulatory process, said Sarah Goodman, vice-president of business development for Tides Canada.

“This is an attempt to distract from the real issue, which is the very legitimate concerns that British Columbians and Canadians have about a potential pipeline being built through part of the largest intact coastal temperate rain forest on the planet,” she said.

Art Sterritt, executive director of Coastal First Nations, said his group has had to “scrape together pennies” to participate in the lengthy review process.

“We’re not even sure we can afford to go there right now, despite the fact that Joe Oliver thinks there’s buckets of money coming from somewhere.”

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  • 10. Oil And Gas Accounts For 4.8 Per Cent Of GDP

    The oil and gas industries accounted for around $65 billion of economic activity in Canada annually in recent years, or slightly less than 5 per cent of GDP. Source: <a href="http://www.ceri.ca/docs/2010-10-05CERIOilandGasReport.pdf" target="_hplink">Canada Energy Research Institute</a>

  • 9. Oil Exports Have Grown Tenfold Since 1980

    Canada exported some 12,000 cubic metres of oil per day in 1980. By 2010, that number had grown to 112,000 cubic metres daily. Source: <a href="http://membernet.capp.ca/SHB/Sheet.asp?SectionID=9&SheetID=224" target="_hplink">Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers</a>

  • 8. Refining Didn't Grow At All As Exports Boomed

    Canada refined 300,000 cubic metres daily in 1980; in 2010, that number was slightly down, to 291,000, even though exports of oil had grown tenfold in that time. Source: <a href="http://membernet.capp.ca/SHB/Sheet.asp?SectionID=7&SheetID=104" target="_hplink">Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers</a>

  • 7. 97 Per Cent Of Oil Exports Go To The U.S.

    Despite talk by the federal government that it wants to open Asian markets to Canadian oil, the vast majority of exports still go to the United States -- 97 per cent as of 2009. Source: <a href="http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/statistics-facts/energy/895" target="_hplink">Natural Resources Canada</a>

  • 6. Canada Has World's 2nd-Largest Proven Oil Reserves

    Canada's proven reserves of 175 billion barrels of oil -- the vast majority of it trapped in the oil sands -- is the second-largest oil stash in the world, after Saudi Arabia's 267 billion. Source: <a href="http://www.ogj.com/index.html" target="_hplink">Oil & Gas Journal</a>

  • 5. Two-Thirds Of Oil Sands Bitumen Goes To U.S.

    One-third of Canada's oil sands bitumen stays in the country, and is refined into gasoline, heating oil and diesel. Source: <a href="http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/statistics-facts/energy/895" target="_hplink">Natural Resources Canada</a>

  • 4. Alberta Is Two-Thirds Of The Industry

    Despite its reputation as the undisputed centre of Canada's oil industry, Alberta accounts for only two-thirds of energy production. British Columbia and Saskatchewan are the second and third-largest producers. Source: <a href="http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/statistics-facts/energy/895" target="_hplink">Natural Resources Canada</a>

  • 3. Alberta Will Reap $1.2 Trillion From Oil Sands

    Alberta' government <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/03/27/alberta-oil-sands-royalties-ceri_n_1382640.html" target="_hplink">will reap $1.2 trillion in royalties from the oil sands over the next 35 years</a>, according to the Canadian Energy Research Institute.

  • 2. Canadian Oil Consumption Has Stayed Flat

    Thanks to improvements in energy efficiency, and a weakening of the country's manufacturing base, oil consumption in Canada has had virtually no net change in 30 years. Consumption went from 287,000 cubic metres daily in 1980 to 260,000 cubic metres daily in 2010. Source: Source: <a href="http://membernet.capp.ca/SHB/Sheet.asp?SectionID=6&SheetID=99" target="_hplink">Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers</a>

  • 1. 250,000 Jobs.. Plus Many More?

    The National Energy Board says oil and gas employs 257,000 people in Canada, not including gas station employees. And the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says the oil sands alone <a href="http://www.capp.ca/aboutUs/mediaCentre/NewsReleases/Pages/OilsandsaCanadianjobcreator.aspx" target="_hplink">will grow from 75,000 jobs to 905,000 jobs by 2035</a> -- assuming, of course, the price of oil holds up.



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  • June 18, 2012 -- Elk Point

    Enbridge Inc.'s <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/06/19/enbridge-elk-point-spill-_n_1610613.html" target="_hplink">Athabasca pipeline leaked an estimated 230,000 litres of oil</a> about 24 kilometres southeast of Elk Point, Alberta. <br></br> A member of Greenpeace cleans up a mock oil spill outside the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline office in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, June 13, 2012. The mock spill was set up by Greenpeace to show the risks of spills similar to the recent one outside of Red Deer, Alberta. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

  • June 18, 2012 -- Elk Point

    Although the spill didn't leak into any waterways, Energy Resources Conservation Board's Darin Barter said the<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/06/19/enbridge-elk-point-spill-_n_1610613.html" target="_hplink"> spill was considered "significant" in size</a>.<br></br> "Any amount of crude oil out of a pipeline is significant to us. Obviously we've had a number of pipeline incidents in the past short while and we're monitoring cleanup on them and we have a number of investigations underway."

  • June 7, 2012 -- Red Deer River

    An estimated 475,000 litres of oil <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/06/09/alberta-oil-spill-red-deer-river_n_1583579.html" target="_hplink">spilled from a Plains Midstream Canada pipeline</a> and proceeded to leak into the Red Deer River. <br></br> Oil from a pipeline leak coats a pond near Sundre, Alta., Friday, June 8, 2012. Plains Midstream Canada says one of their non-functioning pipeline leaked between 1,000-3,000 barrels of oil. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

  • June 7, 2012 -- Red Deer River

    Some of the oil <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/06/11/alberta-oil-pipeline-spill-red-deer-river-clean-up_n_1588536.html" target="_hplink">seeped into the Gleniffer reservoir</a>, which some Albertans rely on for drinking water. Plains Midstream Canada <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/06/11/alberta-oil-pipeline-spill-red-deer-river-clean-up_n_1588536.html" target="_hplink">trucked in drinking water</a> for those residing near the area.

  • May 19, 2012 -- Northwest Alberta

    Pace Oil and Gas's waste disposal line <a href="http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/energy-resources/Rainbow Lake spill pegged at 22,000 barrels/6683338/story.html" target="_hplink">leaked about 22,000 barrels of a mixture of oil and water</a> 20 kilometres southeast of Rainbow Lake. The spill was discovered on May 19 by another oil and gas company.

  • May 19, 2012 -- Northwest Alberta

    The oil spill "<a href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/pipeline-spill-sends-22000-barrels-of-oil-mix-into-alberta-muskeg/article2447765/" target="_hplink">ranks among the largest in North America in recent years</a>," the Globe and Mail wrote.

  • June 26, 2011 -- Swan Hills

    A pipeline explosion and oil leak at a Pengrowth Energy facility caused a pipeline to leak <a href="http://edmonton.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20110627/edm_oil_110627/20110627/?hub=EdmontonHome" target="_hplink">500 barrels of light, sweet crude oil into Judy Creek</a> near Swan Hills, Alberta.

  • June 26, 2011 -- Swan Hills

    Energy Resources Conservation Board spokesman Darin Barter said the <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2011/06/27/edmonton-oil-spill-swan-hills.html" target="_hplink">leak was relatively small</a>. <br></br> "It's what we would consider a minor spill with 95 per cent of the product coming out of the pipeline being water and five per cent oil," he told CBC. "However, we're taking it very seriously, as is the company."

  • April 29, 2011 -- Little Buffalo First Nation

    Plains Midstream Canada's 45-year-old Rainbow pipeline<a href="http://m.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/a-dire-warning-from-a-broken-pipe/article4262774/?service=mobile" target="_hplink"> spilled roughly 28,000 barrels of light crude oil</a> near Little Buffalo First Nation.

  • April 29, 2011 -- Little Buffalo First Nation

    Residents, including children, <a href="http://www.afn.ca/index.php/en/news-media/latest-news/urgent-measures-needed-for-citizens-of-little-buffalo-first-nation-in-" target="_hplink">reported incidents of burning eyes, stomach pains, disorientation, nausea and headaches</a>, according to the Assembly of First Nations.