Enbridge Inc. silences critics of its Northern Gateway Pipeline

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July 20, 2012 by SCNCC

Enbridge ignored danger signs at a pipeline in Michigan for five years until the thing ruptured, spewing over 1 million gallons of crude into the Kalamazoo River.

While Americans are fighting to deny TransCanada’s giant Keystone XL crude oil pipeline a visa, another fossil fuel snake that will pump crude from Alberta’s tar sands is heading West for the Pacific. Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway would cut across Canada, pumping more than half a million barrels of raw oil through hundreds of rivers and streams, over First Nations’ indigenous land, to refineries along the coast of British Columbia. The pipeline would lead to a 30% increase in tar sands production, Canada’s fasting growing source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Enbridge also has a dubious safety record, including at least 7 spills since 2006.  A recent report from the US National Transportation Board says Enbridge ignored danger signs at a pipeline in Michigan for five years until the thing ruptured, spewing over 1 million gallons of crude into the Kalamazoo River in 2010. The Transportation Board slams Enbridge’s response to the spill, accusing the company of  handling the clean-up like the “Keystone Cops”

The US Transportation Board says Enbridge handled a 2010 oil spill cleanup like the “Keystone Cops”.

Nothing a $5 million public relations campaign can’t fix. That’s how much Enbridge has shelled out so far to convince Canadians they know what they’re doing. All that dough goes along way.

One instance in point:

Last month, Dan Murphy, a cartoonist with the Vancouver Province, created an animated parody, lampooning Enbridge’s safety pledgees. Postmedia News, which owns the Province, pulled the video from its website after Enbridge threatened to cut advertising.

Nice try. Since the Province removed the video from its website, it has garnered over 60,000 views on Youtube.

Despite Enridge’s attempts to clean-up their image the pipeline remains wildly unpopular among Canadians. As the environmental group Forest Ethics notes:

  • In March 2010, nine Coastal First Nations declared a ban on tanker traffic and promised to do whatever it takes to stop the Enbridge pipeline.
  • Over 130 First Nations have signed on to the Fraser Declaration banning tar sands from being transported through their territories.
  • According to a 2010 poll, 80 per cent of British Columbians support a ban on oil tanker traffic on BC’s North Coast.
  • The Union of BC Municipalities passed two resolutions against Enbridge’s pipeline and tanker project, and potentially impacted municipalities have since passed their own resolutions (including Smithers, Terrace, Masset, Prince Rupert, and Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District).

All across Canada thousands have demonstrated against Northern Gateway thus far. Many have pledged to put their body’s on the line to block the pipeline in its tracks. The revolution may not be televised but Enbridge will certainly bump into it as it tries to wiggle the Northern Gateway westward.

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