NDP Leader Dix Lawyers Up for Enbridge Fight


Read this story from the Vancouver Sun on BC NDP Leader Adrian Dix’s decision to seek legal counsel on stopping the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. (May 13, 2012)

B.C. NDP leader Adrian Dix is predicting a “businesslike” relationship with Prime Minister Stephen Harper if the NDP wins next spring’s provincial election, even though he’s investigating ways to challenge a critical component of Harper’s economic plan: Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway pipeline megaproject.

Dix said Friday he’s assembling a legal team headed by Vancouver lawyer Murray Rankin, a specialist in aboriginal, natural resource and environment law, to consider his legal options to oppose the controversial $5.5-billion pipeline proposal now before a federal review panel.

Dix said the legal team is looking at various legalities surrounding the issue, including the federal legislation and the Harper government’s approach to the joint review of the Enbridge proposal by a panel drawn from the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

One matter they’re looking at is a 2010 deal in which the B.C. government said it accepted that a federal environmental review would be equivalent to a B.C. process.

The agreement notes that the federal review will “take into account” the views of the public and first nations. Dix said there may be questions about whether Ottawa has fulfilled that commitment.

The NDP leader had tough words for Ottawa’s handling of environmental reviews of two controversial natural resource projects: Calgary-based Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline and Vancouver-based Taseko’s New Prosperity gold-copper mine.

The Harper government is aggressively championing the pipeline, tabling legislation certain to ease the project through the regulatory review process despite aggressive opposition from many B.C. first nations.

The project is also the centre-piece of Alberta Premier Alison Redford’s so-called national energy strategy, which is seeking cross-Canada approval for infrastructure to get natural resources – especially oilsands crude – to key markets like China.