05/31/2013 01:47 EDT | Updated 05/31/2013 02:39 EDT

Northern Gateway Pipeline Opposed By BC Government


The B.C. government has officially stated its opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline in its current form, in what is the strongest statement the government has made against the project.

In a final written submission to the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel, the province states that its questions around the pipeline route, spill response or any other incidents around the pipeline have not been answered satisfactorily, Environment Minister Terry Lake said in a Friday news release.

"Northern Gateway has said that they would provide effective spill response in all cases. However, they have presented little evidence as to how they will respond," Lake said in the statement.

"For that reason, our government cannot support the issuance of a certificate for the pipeline as it was presented to the Joint Review Panel."

Lake reiterated five conditions that heavy-oil projects must meet in order to gain the province's approval. Among other things, a pipeline must have a world-leading marine oil-spill response; world-leading practices for land oil spill prevention, response and recovery; and that B.C. receive what the province calls "a fair share of the pipeline's financial and economic benefits."

Those conditions cooled relations between B.C. Premier Christy Clark and Alberta Premier Alison Redford, who said last November that things become "frosty" anytime people talk about Alberta sharing royalties with someone else.

The B.C. government's position also drew plenty of attention during the 2013 election, with Clark reiterating her five conditions while NDP Leader Adrian Dix was opposed to the project outright.

The provincial government drew up its final submission after looking at 199 potential conditions that the pipeline would have to meet in order to be approved by the Joint Review Panel. The province believes that these conditions must be strengthened in order for the pipeline to gain its approval.

B.C. will present its final argument against the pipeline at a hearing in Terrace on June 17.

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