Today the Joint Review Panel of the Canadian National Energy Board (NEB) and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has recommended to the government of Canada that the Northern Gateway Project is in the Canadian public interest, and that, subject to certain conditions, it can be built and operated safely without causing significant adverse effects.
We issued the following statement:
The NEB decision, which is based on the best-available evidence, is a very positive development. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce strongly believes that projects to get Canadian resources to global markets in a responsible fashion, including the Northern Gateway initiative, are in Canada’s national interest. We are one of the world’s few oil-producing countries able to increase production to match growing global demand, while offering political stability and a demonstrated commitment to improving environmental standards. The revenues generated by global energy sales can help Canada finance clean energy initiatives and develop new technologies to fuel the global economy.
If the NEB’s decision is confirmed by the federal government, the Northern Gateway project will create thousands of jobs in British Columbia and the rest of Canada, potentially adding up to $270-billion to Canada's gross domestic product over 30 years. The project offers significant benefits for aboriginal Canadians along the right of way, with a 10 per cent ownership in the venture, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in procurement contracts and local employment opportunities.
Pipeline safety is an absolute paramount concern, and it is one being closely scrutinized by the Joint Review Panel. Canadian firms currently operate a network in excess of 100,000 kilometres of bituminous and natural gas pipelines in North America. Ninety-seven per cent of our natural gas and offshore crude oil is moved by pipeline, and more than 99.999 per cent arrives safely at its destination. These are the fuels that, quite literally, power our economy—and pipelines provide a safe and efficient means to get it to market.
The review process was specifically designed to thoroughly test all aspects of the project – in detail and in public. It enabled the public to raise questions and concerns, and for those to be noted and addressed on the record. If Enbridge had not been able to decisively prove that it can and will meet the highest standards in environmental protection and safety, the project simply would not have received today’s green light.
We support the Joint Review Panel’s decision and look forward to seeing Enbridge continue to work with the appropriate authorities to advance the project.