Enbridge has been pleading with Ottawa to simmer down, according to Environment Canada documents obtained by Postmedia News. Enbridge is the company planning to build the Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands, in the Edmonton region, to Kitimat, on the British Columbia coast. According to the report, Enbridge officials have said Ottawa wants to get over the regulatory approval process done on an “unrealistically fast” schedule.
Since the U.S. rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have brought Canadian bitumen to a refinery in Texas, the Northern Gateway pipeline has emerged a priority for the Conservative government. The pipeline would allow for the export of Canadian bitumen to Asia through the port of Kitimat—in other words, it would show the U.S. they are not the only buyer out there.
Enbridge’s $5.5 billion project faces opposition from environmentalists and several First Nations groups whose communities would be affected by—and whose finances would benefit from—the pipeline. The company’s way of convincing First Nations of the project’s benefits are, at best, controversial. An article in The Globe and Mail this week quotes Coastal First Nations executive director Art Sterritt saying that Enbridge has given close to $1 million to B.C. First Nations to conduct their own research into the project.