Pacific Access: Part IV - Oil Spills and First Nations: Exploring Environmental and Land Issues Surrounding the Northern Gateway Pipeline
Published On: February 15, 2012
Study No. 129
The Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project offers a classic example of the controversy that increasingly attaches itself to energy infrastructure projects: how to balance economic development with environmental conservation. Consequently, discussions surrounding the development of Northern Gateway have become controversial. Many stakeholders claim the economics overwhelmingly favour pipeline construction, while others favour a risk-averse approach towards anything that may potentially contaminate a pristine area. To further complicate matters, British Columbia First Nations land claims are not well established, and it is these lands which the pipeline would traverse; these are the areas that would be damaged if an oil spill were to happen. This report addresses many of the environmental issues, providing insight into Enbridge’s Environmental Impact Assessment; it also explores the recent history of aboriginal land claims and the degree to which First Nations retain traditional land rights in contemporary Canadian society.