Ecojustice Blog – Climate change Posted on January 30, 2014 (updated: February 17, 2015)

BREAKING: We’re going to court over Northern Gateway

Karen CampbellLawyer

We promised that we’d fight back on Northern Gateway. Now it’s official.

We’ve filed a lawsuit seeking a court order to force the Joint Review Panel to go back to the drawing board and remedy flaws in its final report.

Back in December, the panel recommended that the pipeline be approved because “Canadians will be better off with this project than without it.”

We beg to differ.

We’ve gone through all 419-pages of the panel’s final report, and in our view, this recommendation contains several legal errors and is based on insufficient evidence. The panel:

  • Concluded that diluted bitumen is unlikely to sink in an ocean environment — even though a federal study released earlier this week suggests otherwise;
  • Allowed Enbridge to assess geohazard risks, like landslides, during construction instead of before;
  • Did not consider the federal recovery strategy for the Pacific Humpback Whale, whose critical habitat overlaps with the proposed tanker route;
  • Did not identify adequate mitigation measures for caribou populations, particularly the Little Smoky Herd of woodland caribou; and,
  • Refused to consider the environmental impacts of upstream oilsands development, even though it DID include the economic benefits of upstream development.

Any decision about Northern Gateway must be based on the best available science. That’s why the panel’s incomplete and flawed report cannot stand as the final word on whether Northern Gateway is in the national interest.

There is simply too much at stake. The battle over Northern Gateway has come to stand for more than just the fate of one pipeline project.

It’s become the epicentre of the debate over Canada’s energy future. And that’s why we’re taking this to court. This is one call Canada needs to get right.

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