REPORTING · 3rd April 2014
Cheryl Brown from Douglas Channel Watch got up to present to Council on the 209 conditions on Monday, March 31.
“Conditions by the NEB are a common practice which keeps the company [competitive] and provide strict guidelines. They include everything from timelines to committee formation, monitoring for these valves, etc. Lots of detailed things,” said Brown.
She told Council there are 130 conditions that are in place prior to the construction, 60 conditions which are met before the pipeline or terminal can be operating, and 16 ongoing conditions for during the life of the project.
However, the conditions can be changed by the Federal Cabinet. The government cannot change the recommendations, they can refer them back but the NEB does not have to change them. The Government can change the conditions laid down by the Canadian Governmental Assessment Act.
“Even considering Northern Gateway’s proposed mitigation measures and the JRP conditions, the project would cause adverse environmental effects after mitigation on a number of valued ecosystems and the list is quite extensive,” said Brown.
She explained the effects were not considered to be significant even though they would have a large impact. The cumulative impact would be in the Cariboo and Grizzly bears. There would be a significant impact on these creatures but the benefits would justify this.
Brown said the JRP did not consider the recovery strategy for marbled murrelets and whales and other endangered species, in some cases, just because the JRP report came out before the report. It was determined that the Environment and Fisheries broke the law by failing to enforce the species at risk act.
Brown explained several topics were left until after the report because the science was not there. One of these was the clean-up of Bitumen. The JRP said the impact to the environment would be significant but it was justified because it was possible for the environment to recover.
Enbridge does have to provide a world class response, but there is no definition of what a world class spill is. They have to file plans three years prior to the operation which require spill modeling and how bitumen distributes in fresh and salt water and a research program on the characteristics of the product when it comes to clean up.
She stated after the JRP, the report came out from the Federal Government that says Bitumen sinks in water when mixed with sediment. The same with the whale reports.
The panel admits they have no way to regulate or recommend conditions for the marine component. They also released conditions for the marine component.
Brown told Council the thing she is concerned about most is the Federal Government being in charge, with all the cuts they have made lately. She asked if the Federal Government will meet its obligations.
“Enbridge will have to comply with whatever they say they will do. However, the NEB has no ability to regulate so how does that work. Only Transport Canada and the Federal Government does,” said Brown.
There has been no assessment on the impact this project will have on the marine economy. The conclusion which was come to was: “The effects would be temporary and people would adapt,” said Brown.
The conclusion she was able to come to was based on a statement made by a medical worker from New Brunswick: “Resource Development and Consultation need to be based on public values as well as complete science.”