Shane Woodford | Email news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org
As community hearings begin in Vancouver today over the proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline BC's Environment Minister says the project is not meeting the provincial government's five conditions.
Terry Lake says the proposal needs to move quickly to meet BC's demands.
"In the next few months I think it is important that we do see some movement there because at this point we are not far enough along."
Lake added should his government ultimately decide the Northern Gateway oil pipeline is not in the best interests of the province then he does not think the Feds will just impose the project on BC.
"I don't think the federal government is going to push anything down the throats of British Columbians if, at the end of the day, it doesn't make sense to the people of BC. I don't think the political imperative is there."
Lake says his government wants to hear every side of the argument before they make an informed decision.
"Well there is no question that those who are adamantly opposed to heavy oil pipelines it is unlikely that anything will change their minds but I think we have to get as much information as possible before we can come to a conclusion. the Premier has said the environment is the most important consideration and if we can't reduce the risks then it doesn't matter what the other benefits are."
He even tossed a barb at the opposition NDP.
"As where as the NDP simply send in a letter to the NEB and they are against that project despite a process that is still ongoing and yet they won't take the the same approach to the Kinder Morgan proposal. I think process is very important without these environmental assessment processes I think it is hard for investors to look at BC with confidence."
The National Energy Board hearings over the Enbridge proposal run today until Friday at the Sheraton Wall Centre but the public viewing room is at the Westin Bayshore.
The NDP's Environment critic is expecting the hearings to be lively affairs.
Rob Fleming says he expects they will be jam packed.
"Hundreds of people who have registered with the National Energy Board come out and speak passionately and give their perspective as British Columbians about the value of our coast line, about the value of our economy, and against the environmental risks of the Enbridge pipeline and I think the passion that you are seeing from ordinary British Columbians is in direct contrast to the vacancy from the BC provincial government."
Fleming also scoffs at charges by the minister that the NDP have been inconsistent with their stance on the Enbridge proposal.
"We had Premier Christy Clark chastising British Columbians for saying no to Enbridge, mocking them in fact, and then you know barely a month or two later she is flying off to Alberta and yelling at our neighbouring Premier in the most undignified manner so there position has been completely inconsistent."
Fleming also says any tough talk now by Terry Lake over the pipeline not meeting BC's five conditions is just empty rhetoric.
"Any words like that at this point and time are hollow because major points which BC as a province could have sought to bring to full bear its influence on the process have been passed and of course so long as the so called equivalency agreement that they signed with Ottawa remains intact it means that essentially Christy Clark has outsourced decision making to Stephen Harper."
Fleming is registered to speak at the NEB review panel hearings in Vancouver.
The provincial government won't have a role to play until cross examing begins again when the hearings move back to Prince Rupert.