Provincial NDP leader Adrian Dix is calling on Premier Christy Clark to get off the fence regarding the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project.
Citing U.S. National Transportation Safety Board findings, released Tuesday on the Kalamazoo pipeline rupture and spill, Dix said the B.C. Liberal government should have presented to the joint review panel on the risks of the project.
“I don’t understand why the premier would say we take all the risks, but won’t say what those risks are,” Dix said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday.
The U.S. report, he added, was “devastating” for Enbridge. Dix suggested Enbridge’s internal warning systems either didn’t work or were ignore. The pipeline leaked for 17 hours before Enbridge officials moved to stop it, and that was only after an outside agency alerted them to the leak that the oil flow was halted to the pipe.
“It raises some serious concerns for us here in British Columbia,” Dix said. “The government has simply been absent without leave on this issue.”
The U.S. report stated that stringent environmental regulations are needed regarding pipelines. Dix said the federal Conservatives and the provincial Liberals have gone the other way and are easing environmental restrictions.
“This report says clearly that is not the way to go,” Dix said. “ The government shouldn’t hoard all the evidence it has.”
The provincial government has intervenor status at the joint review panel, however chose not to make a submission prior to the January, 2012 deadline. Dix said it has the “evidence” of provincial ministries as to the impact of the pipeline on the province, economically and environmentally, and chose not to present it to the panel, as has the government of Alberta and several communities along the pipeline route.
Dix said it is in the province’s interests, economically and environmentally, to know what the risks of the project are. Dix’s statement comes a day after an Angus Reid poll puts NDP support at 45 per cent in the province. So what would an NDP government do?
“The position of B.C. would change the day after the election,” he said.