Federal panel to hear final pitch for and against Northern Gateway pipeline

TERRACE, B.C. – The proponent and opponents of the Northern Gateway pipeline will make their final pitches to a federal review panel starting Monday, at the last set of hearings before the panel issues its decision.

The company will be the first to lay out its case for approving the controversial project that would link the Alberta oil sands to a tanker port in Kitimat, B.C.

The province of British Columbia is also slated to address the panel, after announcing late last month that it believes the project cannot go ahead as proposed.

While critics of the project have dominated public hearings so far, Calgary-based Enbridge (TSX:ENB) will have some prominent allies in the final leg of the process, with the government of Alberta, the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers slated to present arguments in favour of the proposal.

Opponents of the project plan to welcome the final set of hearings with a rally Sunday in Terrace, including Coastal First Nations, which dropped out of the review process earlier this year.

Final arguments are scheduled over the next two weeks, and the panel’s report to the federal government is due by the end of the year.