Keystone decision means Enbridge must account for climate affect of Northern Gateway, environmental group tells Joint Review Panel

Environment Energy

A coalition of environmental groups led by ForestEthics says the fact the US State Department included climate change in its decision to reassess the Keystone XL pipeline means that Enbridge just do the same for the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta to Kitimat.

Even before the Keystone decision, the environmentalists filed a motion with the Northern Gateway Joint Review that would compel the panel to consider the up-stream impacts of tar sands from the Northern Gateway pipeline, as well as climate change impacts.

The groups say they filed the motion with the Joint Review panel on October 10 and have not yet received a response, even though, according to the group, the NGJR panel should respond within seven days.

A news release from ForestEthics says:

The State Department and the Obama administration’s decision to delay the Keystone XL pipeline sends a clear signal to Canadian decision makers,” says Nikki Skuce, Senior Energy campaigner with ForestEthics. “In the context of the climate change threat, credible pipeline review includes climate impacts…”

The Keystone decision came down to the concerns of thousands of American citizens,” said Jennifer Rice, Chair of The Friends of Wild Salmon. “Citizen concern is just as strong in Canada. We’ve had a record-breaking 4000 citizens sign-up to speak on the Gateway pipeline, and we hope Stephen Harper learns something from President Obama’s listening skills.”

ForestEthics spokesman Nikki Skuce said:

The Joint Review Panel has been reluctant to consider climate change and tar sands impacts in their assessment of Northern Gateway, yet Enbridge argues the need for this pipeline based on tar sands expansion… [President Barack] Obama’s decision sets a new North American standard for credible pipeline review. We hope the federal government does the right thing for Canadians and the planet, by including climate and tar sands impacts in their review process.

Related Links
Friends of the Wild Salmon

Wild salmon rivers should be considered ‘no-go zones’: Sun op ed

Environment Opinion Link

Wild salmon rivers should be considered ‘no-go zones’

Nikki Skuce a senior energy campaigner at ForestEthics and Karen Tam Wu a senior conservation campaigner at ForestEthics write in a Vancouver Sun opinion piece:

India has created “no-go zones” for coal mining. These areas are
forests and other ecosystems that have been set aside for protection
from coal mining.

When it comes to energy development in this province,
we should be looking at something similar.In the northwest of the
province, three major wild salmon rivers are born – the Skeena, Stikine
and Nass. These critical watersheds are known as the Sacred Headwaters.
The vast alpine landscape, territory of the Tahltan First Nation, is
also home to grizzly bears, caribou and moose. There are very few places
of its kind left in the world.

Sacred Headwaters book slated for October release

Last summer, members of the International League of Conservation Photographers visited the northwest of British Columbia in what they call a RAVE (Rapid Assessment Visual Expedition).

One RAVE involved photographing areas which ILCP members feel may be threatened by the construction of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline and the increased  number of supertankers plying the west coast of British Columbia. That RAVE shot mainly along the coast and in the Great Bear Rainforest.

At the same time the ILCP conducted a second RAVE along the Skeena, Nass and Stikine Rivers. 

Today, National Geographic announced that a book on the Sacred Headwaters would be released in October.

National Geographic says:

Now, against the wishes of all First Nations, the British Columbia government has opened the Sacred Headwaters to industrial development. Imperial Metals proposes an open-pit copper and gold mine, called the Red Chris mine, and Royal Dutch Shell wants to extract coal bed methane gas across a tenure of close to a million acres


National Geographic says the Sacred Headwaters RAVE was launched with partner Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition (SWCC) to produce images of the Sacred Headwaters of (the birthplace of 3 of British Columbia’s greatest salmon rivers – the Stikine, Skeena, and Nass). The text is written by author and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, Wade Davis.

National Geographic is quite open about why it is publishing the book:

The book will be used as a tool by iLCP, SWCC, other local conservation groups and Wade Davis to derail proposed mining projects that would destroy the Sacred Headwaters. The book will be published in October 2011 right before the moratorium on mining in the Sacred Headwaters is lifted.

Information on the ILCP Great Bear Rave can be found here.

The 14-day expedition to the Great Bear Rainforest called upon 7 world-renowned photographers and 3 videographers to thoroughly document the region’s landscapes, wildlife, and culture. The RAVE provided media support to the First Nations and environmental groups seeking to stop the proposed Enbridge Gateway pipeline project (and thus expansion of the tar sands) and to expose the plan to lift the oil tanker ship moratorium


While the Great Bear RAVE did produce some stunning photographs, the photographers stayed along the coast and (at least for now) did not venture up Douglas Channel where the tankers will have to navigate the tricky waters to the port of Kitimat.