CANADA: Opposition Builds to New "Tar Sands" Pipeline
MONTREAL, Jan 17, 2012 (IPS) - As public hearings began earlier this month into a controversial pipeline that would transport crude oil from the Alberta tar sands to tankers along the coast of British Columbia, environmental groups and First Nations communities have raised staunch opposition to the project, which they say puts both the environment and their traditional way of life at risk.
"The consensus is that there really are no benefits to us on the coast, and that the potential negative impacts could be devastating," said Art Sterritt, the executive director of British Columbia's Coastal First Nations, a group of 10 First Nations communities whose territory extends almost two-thirds the length of B.C.'s Pacific coast.
"We rely on that ocean area for our sustenance, for our work, for everything. The coast as we know it, with one (oil) spill, would cease to exist. All the clam beds, cockle beds and shellfish beds that we depend on on the coast – that really have been the foundation of our culture – they would be wiped out," Sterritt told IPS.
The 5.5-billion-dollar "Northern Gateway Pipelines" project, which would be carried out by Canada's largest natural gas distribution company, Enbridge, aims to transport over 525,000 barrels of crude oil daily from the Albertan tar sands to the B.C. coast.
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