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More Bad News For Northern Gateway Pipeline

Janet Holder, the executive in charge of Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway pipeline project, announced her retirement weeks after the Canadian energy company acknowledged that the conduit wouldn’t be operational in 2018 as originally planned.

The pipeline would carry 525,000 barrels a day of crude extracted from oil sands per day from central Alberta through British Columbia to its Pacific terminus in Kitimat, giving Canada its first significant opportunity to serve Asian markets. The project was approved in December 2013 by federal regulators.
But Northern Gateway has been beset with challenges from environmentalists and by First Nations leaders along its route. It also has been slapped with 209 conditions from Canada’s National Energy Board, which have been approved by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Holder has spent nearly 20 years of her career with Enbridge, and since 2011 she has been the face and voice of Enbridge in a media campaign seeking support for the project. A cancer survivor, she announced Nov. 12 that she would retire Dec. 31 in order to “focus on my family and my personal health.”

Related: Global Oil Surplus To Disappear Gradually Next Year

Enbridge President and CEO Al Monaco, issued a statement commending Holder’s efforts to build “trust with communities by listening to their concerns and demonstrating Northern Gateway’s commitment to building a safe project that protects the environment.”

Holder’s replacement as chief of the project will be John Carruthers, who already serves as president of Northern Gateway Pipelines. In a speech to business leaders in Calgary recently he emphasized the importance of building more support from indigenous groups because the idea of opening the pipeline in 2018 was “quickly evaporating.”

“I’m not as fussed on what that date is,” Carruthers said. “I’m more fussed on can we have the support we need to go ahead, so it’s positive for all people of Canada, including aboriginal people. That’s going to take time, and it’s going to take the time it takes."

On paper, at least, Enbridge still plans to build the pipeline and meet the 209 conditions to satisfy the federal government’s environmental concerns. But Art Sterritt, the executive director of the Coastal First Nations along the Pacific, says the company appears to be giving up on the project, which he has frequently called a “case study” in how not to negotiate with aboriginal peoples.

“I don’t blame [Holder] for resigning. Obviously the project can’t go ahead,” Sterritt told the Vancouver Observer. “I just wish her well in her future life.”

Related: Petronas Threatens To Scrap Canadian LNG Terminal Over Tax Rates

A new challenge arose on Sept. 26 when a federal appeals court permitted the Gitxaala Nation, which lives near the pipeline’s route in British Columbia, to seek a judicial review of the project’s approval. In fact in July there was news that various First Nations have mounted at least nine separate challenges to the pipeline.

At that time, Martin Louie, chief councilor of the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation, also in British Columbia, said most people in his province and many in the rest of Canada support indigenous people’s effort to block the pipeline.


“We call this beautiful B.C.,” he said, “and that is what we want to keep it as.”

Northern Gateway Pipeline Project

By Andy Tully of Oilprice.com

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  • Kriositivity on November 17 2014 said:
    This is a travesty. All the company sees is dollar sign, all the government sees is money in their personal pockets. LNG is going to die. Countries around the world cannot afford it any longer and are looking for alternatives and investing in their sciences.
    Here? We're walking over Aboriginal rights. deafening ourselves to British Columbians, most of whom are saying "NO" to this project.
    Instead of investing in sciences and education we're flooding money into a global economic fad. For quick money. Not money for the people, money for the CEO and Christy Clark.
    Us? We get to pay for it, we're taxed to use it, we pay to use it, we pay to ship it/maintain roadways.
    Ridiculous. YES this province needs some cash flow, but doing it like we're in the fifth grade is only going to be a screw up.
    This province can't even put a respectable amount to public school budget or pay nurses a living wage.

  • Rex Randall Shoop on November 16 2014 said:
    Yes............ we do want to keep B.C. beautiful and if there are pipelines crisscrossing the North Western portion of the province that will be impossible. It is not only the threat of spills, fires, slides and mud flowing into creeks and water sheds.......... there is also the thousands of miles of untouched forest being opened up to ATV's, hunters prospectors, lodge builders and many other endeavors. It is like the pipeline corridor that they talked about, well...........I have seen the maps of this so called corridor..... a "strip" of land about 150-200 miles wide with about 6-7 pipelines threading down every river shed as they head to the coast. No Way guys, should have thought of this before you promised the Chinese that, we, would be a pushover. Bad planning does not mean, bad actions. Go away and stay away we do not like you and we will not play with you.

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