CONTRIBUTION · 8th January 2012
Enbridge’s offer to let First Nations buy 10 per cent of their 5.5 billon dollar proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline sounds unrealistic at best.
Why would the 130 First Nations that have unwaveringly opposed the pipeline, want anything to do with a business that they believe is potentially harmful, environmentally dangerous to their sacred ecosystem and an infringement of their aboriginal rights and title?
If the Northern Gateway pipeline ruptures, like the one at Enbridge’s pipeline in Michigan, (spilling over 20,000 galleons) the First Nations that bought into the pipeline would take on full liability along side with Enbridge.
Pipeline ownership, is an environmental burden that First Nations can not afford.
First Nations leasing the land to Enbridge with a 250 million dollar environmental contingent fund that is controlled by northern citizens sounds more reasonable.
Moreover; tough laws and expensive penalties, such as dismantling the pipeline if a spill occurs, need to be in place.
However; given the strong opposition from native band leaders it is highly unlikely that a compromise deal will be reached.
It is surely not in Canada’s best interest to export huge volumes of raw product that is extracted from the oil-sands, to United States or Asia to produce finished goods? Certainly; China would not be shipping their raw products to be manufactured in Alberta.
The pipeline, in the long run, would produce more jobs outside of Canada than at home. The public’s rejection of the Northern Gateway Pipeline and the Keystone pipeline would perhaps force governments and companies to produce the heavy bitumen into usable products in Canada.
It is hard to imagine 200 oil tankers a year coming into Kitimat and having one pipeline that transports 525 thousand barrels a day and another one that delivers 190 thousand barrels,over one thousand miles, without any spills? This is a huge project by any standards.
It would be foolhardy for governments to rush the pipeline through without widespread consent from native and non native communities. A regional referendum is needed, and it should be held in the areas that are only impacted by the pipeline.