As final submissions begin, Liberals leave door open to Enbridge pipeline

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VICTORIA The B.C. Liberal government has left the door open to supporting the Enbridge pipeline in the future, and has failed to take the action needed to gain provincial control of the review process, say the New Democrats.

Final oral submissions to the Joint Review Panel on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project began in Terrace Monday, but because of the agreement the Liberal government signed in 2010, the real decision will be not be made in this province, but in Ottawa.

“Today, the B.C. Liberal government is telling us they oppose this project, but the final written submission from the B.C. government clearly left the door open for support in the future,” said New Democrat environment critic Spencer Chandra Herbert.

Chandra Herbert pointed out that the B.C. government’s final written submission concludes only that the province says it will not support approval for the project “at this time.”

“In their closing arguments Monday, Enbridge effectively asked British Columbians not to worry about the dangers posed by tanker traffic and oil spills on their coast, showing they are out of touch with the concerns of this province,” said Chandra Herbert.

The Liberal government failed for years to take a position on the project, and even failed to present evidence to the Joint Review Panel, said Chandra Herbert, noting that their recent opposition to the project only came after intense pressure from New Democrats, environmentalists, First Nations, coastal communities and the thousands of other British Columbians concerned about this proposal.

“Premier Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberals have left B.C. without a voice at the table in a decision that could dramatically affect our future, and have left us vulnerable to a federal government that could still ram through this project,” said Chandra Herbert.

“This government gave away our power to make this decision in 2010. If they really wanted to stop this pipeline, they would withdraw from the agreement with Ottawa.”

The Liberal government has failed to stand up for B.C., and has made it clear this province’s environment is up for sale for the right price. B.C.’s New Democrats have clearly stated that the Enbridge proposal is not worth the risk to B.C.’s future, and that some things – like a clean environment – are too valuable to sell.