Northern Gateway Approved: Canada's Harper Gives Federal OK to 'Bloodline of Tar Sands'

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Common Dreams

Northern Gateway Approved: Canada's Harper Gives Federal OK to 'Bloodline of Tar Sands'

"The gauntlet's being thrown down," say activists, who vow continued opposition.

Photo: Stephen Boyle/cc/flickr

Photo: Stephen Boyle/cc/flickr

In the face of widespread opposition, Canada's federal government on Tuesday gave the OK to Enbridge's Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline.

The nearly 1,200-kilometer pipeline would carry tar sands crude from Alberta to Kitimat, British Columbia.

CBC News reports that the project is "subject to 209 conditions recommended by the National Energy Board and further talks with aboriginal communities."

The project has been fiercely opposed, and First Nations communities have vowed to stop the project, regardless of federal approval.

"Stopping the Northern Gateway pipeline is one of the most important fights we have right now," Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, said in a statement.

"Pipelines are the bloodlines of the tar sands. If we allow Northern Gateway to go ahead, it will mean a massive expansion of the tar sands, more harm to the land, water and climate, and yet another delay for the clean energy future we need," Barlow stated.

Leila Darwish, Pacific Regional Organizer with the group, highlighted the "solid wall of opposition" the pipeline faces.

"From the streets to the courts, the battle has just begun – no pipelines, no tankers, and no means no," Darwish added.

That sentiment is echoed by Ben West, Tar Sands Campaign Director with ForestEthics Advocacy, who wrote Monday:

Northern Gateway is more than a pipeline. The Enbridge fight is emblematic of all we cherish as Canadians -- our democracy, our respect for First Nations' rights, our magnificent West Coast and vast forests, orcas, wild salmon and spirit bears.

The Harper government seems to want to risk the destruction of all of this. Harper may think he can ram this pipeline through over the B.C. public's objections and in opposition to the rights of First Nations. But if he goes ahead and approves Enbridge, he'll be in a for a big surprise. We still hold many tools here in B.C. to stop this pipeline, and we'll use every tool we need.

Harper's announcement on this pipeline is not the decisive moment, but it is a galvanizing one. If things go as expected, the gauntlet's being thrown down. Now it's up to us to respond.

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