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Campaign builds against Enbridge pipeline

Bradley Hughes, John Bell

January 10, 2012

First Nations groups are leading a growing campaign against the looming threat of the Enbridge Northern Gateway project.

Enbridge wants to build a 1170km-long pipeline to ship tar sands synthetic oil from Alberta to a port in Northern BC. The proposed route will pass over 1,000 salmon-bearing streams and rivers, and will require over 200 oil tankers into and out of the port each year.

Enbridge’s environmental record is atrocious. Between 1999 and 2008 Enbridge recorded 610 spills that released 132,000 barrels of hydrocarbons into farms, wetlands and waterways on the continent. The only way to prevent the environmental devastation that will come from spills along the pipeline route and along the coast is to stop the project before it starts.

Early in December an “agreement” between the Gitxsan First Nation of BC and Enbridge made front-page news. But the deal had been signed without the knowledge or support of the Chiefs, and without consultation or debate among the Gitxsan people. A press release from the Gitxsan First Nation two days later was unequivocal: they would join with other First Nations to oppose the pipeline.

Not only does the proposed pipeline route go through some of the most environmentally sensitive land in the west; this land is unceded First Nations Territory. Besides being an environmental crime, the pipeline would amount to theft of First Nations land. A coalition of over 130 aboriginal groups has promised to blockade the route, with the support of environmentalists and allies.

A majority of people in BC oppose the pipeline. After an intensive one-month campaign by environmental organizations including ForestEthics and the Dogwood Initiative, over 4,000 people have registered to make oral statements to the panel that is reviewing the Enbridge pipeline proposal.

The next step in the campaign is to recruit people to put their opposition in writing and submit it as Letter of Comment to the panel. The deadline for letters is March 13, 2012.

Visit for all the official details, and contact ForestEthics for help in writing your letter.

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