The release on Thursday (December 19) of a federal panel’s report on the proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline proves one thing to Native leader Art Sterritt.
According to the executive director of the Coastal First Nations (an alliance of central and northern coast and Haida Gwaii First Nations), it’s “so typical” of the process undertaken by the Joint Review Panel in assessing the Enbridge Inc. project.
“They couldn’t even have the courage to come out and make that announcement in British Columbia,” Sterritt told the Straight in a phone interview. “They have to do it in Alberta. Let’s do it in Calgary, where all the oil companies reside.”
The review panel’s report will be available at the National Energy Board office in Calgary and online. The panel previously stated that it would release its findings by December 31.
Sarah Kiley, a spokesperson with the National Energy Board, explained in a phone interview from Calgary that the report was “always planned to come out before the end of the year”. The report will contain the panel’s recommendation to the federal government on whether or not to approve the proposed 1,170-kilometre twin pipeline from Bruderheim, Alberta, to the coastal city of Kitimat in B.C.
“They’re certainly not coming out here where, whatever happens, whatever recommendations they’re making are affecting people,” Sterritt said. “To me, this lacks credibility, and it’s really an affront to democracy. And that’s what this whole exercise has been characterized by, and the final way they do this just proves this all to us.”
Sterritt expects the review panel to “leave the opportunity to the proponent for ways to get the approval” of its planned pipeline.
The federal Conservative cabinet will make the final decision on Northern Gateway.