BC ends pipeline cross-examination with many unanswered questions

VANCOUVER – Lawyers for the provincial government have wrapped up their cross-examination of company experts at the Northern Gateway review hearings with many questions left unanswered.

Environment Minister Terry Lake says the province was looking for more information on how pipeline proponents would deliver the world-class oil spill prevention and response promised as part of the $6-billion project.

He says Northern Gateway did not demonstrate under oath that it would be able to access or respond to a spill in the remote areas the pipeline will cross or that the company will be able to recover sunken oil.

Lake says the company will not even have land- or marine-spill response plans until after the project has been approved, although company experts confirmed this week that the plans won’t include a dedicated rescue tug or specific tanker routes.

The province has set out five requirements for the project and Lake says the next step is to assess whether the company has met them.

The panel has yet to hear interveners or federal government officials questioned under oath, before final arguments begin in May. The panel report is due by the end of the year.