Read this bulletin from West Coast Environmental Law on the links between the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline and the recent cancellation of a multi-year, multi-stakeholder effort to create a new marine conservation arean on BC’s North Coast, titled PNCIMA.
Revelations on Sunday that Enbridge had actively, and successfully, lobbied the federal government to walk away from a decade long planning process with Coastal First Nations and the Province of BC do nothing to help the company’s embattled pipeline and tankers project, or its reputation with First Nations.
Coastal First Nations, environmental groups and the Province of British Columbia were all shocked last September when the federal government abruptly broke off an agreement on the development of a marine plan for the Pacific North Coast – a plan that had been almost a decade in the making. The federal government apparently felt that the plan might be co-opted and used against the Enbridge Pipeline, but we argued at the time that the government’s withdrawal actually increases the likelihood of a legal challenge by Coastal First Nations against the pipeline and associated tanker traffic…
…And now we receive word, via the Canadian Press, that Enbridge lobbied the federal government to withdraw from PNCIMA 8 months before the government withdrew from the agreement. Apparently Enbridge argued that the involvement of Tides Canada – which would have administered the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation funding – would have compromised the PNCIMA process:
“The funding by Tides Canada of the Coastal First Nations and other participants in the PNCIMA initiative raises serious questions about the objectivity of those parties in regards to the process and their oversight of Tides Canada in its administrative role with the PNCIMA initiative,” says one company slide.
“The PNCIMA process is too important to allow it to be hijacked by parties with clear and specific motives beyond the creation of an oceans management plan.”
There is a certain hypocrisy to this position, since Enbridge itself had funded workshops during an earlier stage of the PNCIMA process (albeit not to the extent of the Gordon and Betty Moore funding). It also occurs to us that Enbridge, who is part of the PNCIMA process, and for that matter the federal government, have a set of “specific motives” in relation to the pipeline and tanker project which go beyond the creation of an oceans management plan.