WWF-Canada Blog:
Climate


We applaud BC’s Strong Stand on the Northern Gateway Pipeline!

Earlier this week, WWF, Coastal First Nations, and Canadians for the Great Bear sent an open letter to Premier Christy Clark urging her to maintain a strong position against the proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline.  Today, in its formal written submission to the Joint Review Panel, the Government of British Columbia did just that.

A Kermode bear (Ursus americanus kermodei) preparing to enter the water of a river in the Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia, Canada. © Natalie Bowes / WWF-Canada

A Kermode bear (Ursus americanus kermodei) preparing to enter the water of a river in the Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia, Canada. © Natalie Bowes / WWF-Canada

Here’s what the B.C. Ministry of Environment wrote:

“The Province states that it cannot support the project as presented to the panel because Northern Gateway has been unable to address British Columbians’ environmental concerns.”

This is a strong act of leadership by the B.C. government.  It’s also a testament to the people of British Columbia who made sure their leaders heard their voice on this issue.

Together, WWF, Coastal First Nations and Canadians for the Great Bear have said loudly and clearly that the Great Bear region of British Columbia is not the place for an oil pipeline or oil tankers.  Not today, not ever, not at any price.

In its written statement to the Joint Review Panel, the B.C. government suggested that it was not satisfied with the proponent’s responses to the risk of an oil spill resulting from this project.  Factors such as the “incompletely understood” behavior of diluted bitumen in water, the difficult terrain of the route, and the profound impact of a potential spill on pristine river environments led to the government’s conclusion that a certificate for the project should not be granted.

“Trust me is not good enough in this case” said the B.C. government. We couldn’t agree more.

We know that there is simply no way to clean up a diluted bitumen spill in this region.  The impact would be disastrous—not only to this globally important ecosystem but to the regional economy and the people whose livelihoods depend on the rivers and the sea.

This is not over yet. In the months ahead, we will continue to work to secure a safe, healthy and prosperous future for the Great Bear. But today is a day to commend the Government of B.C.; to applaud the Premier for standing up for this extraordinary place, and to thank her for giving voice to the majority of British Columbians who oppose this project.