August 22, 2012
Dix Would Nix Pipeline Pact
NDP leader Dix
says "made in BC" best for province
Released by Mike Lowe, BC NDP Caucus/Voice file
Democrat government will withdraw from the federal government's
Enbridge Northern Gateway Project review process and set up a "made
in B.C." environmental assessment to ensure the province's interests
are protected, B.C. New Democrat leader Adrian Dix announced.
"Within a week of taking
office, we will serve the federal government with 30 days' notice to
terminate the 2010 deal in which the Liberals signed away B.C.'s
interests," Dix said. "British Columbia's citizens, communities and
First Nations must have full confidence that their voices will be
heard by Victoria.
"This Liberal government has failed British Columbians at every
stage of the Enbridge pipeline application process. First they
signed away B.C.'s right to review the project. Then they refused to
take a clear stance. They even missed the deadline to provide
evidence to the federal process."
Under Section 6 of the 2010 Equivalency Agreement between the
Province of B.C. and Canada, either party can withdraw from the
process with 30 days' written notice. While the process is being
conducted by a "Joint Review Panel," Dix noted the word "joint"
refers to the shared authority of two federal agencies, the National
Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Authority -
not to a joint initiative undertaken by B.C. and Ottawa.
"A made in B.C. review will ensure that British Columbia's economic,
social and environmental interests are fully addressed, that B.C.'s
powers and responsibilities are properly exercised and that First
Nations' interests are properly recognized within this new process,"
said New Democrat environment critic Rob Fleming.
In April, the New Democrat caucus submitted a letter to the Joint
Review Panel detailing its reasons for opposing the Northern Gateway
Project. Dix has also convened a panel of legal experts, led by
renowned constitutional lawyer Murray Rankin, to assess B.C.'s legal
authority and to identify legal options with regard to the pipeline.
In 2010, the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office and the National
Energy Board signed an Environmental Assessment Equivalency
The Agreement stated that any N.E.B. assessment of a Project would
be accepted as being equivalent to an assessment under the B.C.
Environmental Assessment Act [s27(3)(d)].
Section 6 of the Agreement allows either party to terminate it upon
giving 30 days' written notice to the other Party, up to the point
that a decision on whether or not to approve the project has been
The term "Joint Review Panel" does not refer to a joint undertaking
between B.C. and Canada. Rather, the word "joint" refers to the
shared exercise of authority by the N.E.B. and the Canadian
Environmental Assessment Authority - both of which are federal
None of the appointees to the Joint Review Panel is from British
"Made in B.C." Review
B.C.'s own environmental assessment process has been systematically
weakened by the B.C. Liberal government to the point where it cannot
be relied upon, in its current form, to provide a meaningful review
New Democrats are committed to strengthening the B.C. Environmental
Assessment Act, but this will require time-consuming legislative
To avoid unnecessary delays in reviewing the Enbridge proposal, a
New Democrat government will initiate its assessment under Section
31 of the B.C. Environmental Assessment Act. This can be achieved in
a much more timely manner, since a legislative amendment would not
be required in order to initiate such an assessment review.
Section 31 allows the responsible Minister to order a variation in
environmental assessment for a specific project if circumstances
The assessment will consider impacts of the project to areas of
provincial jurisdiction such as wildlife, forests, inland water
bodies containing non-anadromous fish, and air and water quality.
A "made in B.C." assessment will ensure that the voices of citizens,
communities and First Nations, as well as business, are properly
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