Enbridge has worked for years. The opposition has vowed that it will never give up. Ottawa is ready to weigh in. Kelly Cryderman and Brent Jang report on a $7.9-billion pipeline fight that isn’t likely to end any time soon
There’s only one way in and out of a small Wet’suwet’en camp located in a remote part of British Columbia’s Interior – a logging road and a single lane bridge.
Right now, though, a truck is parked in front of the bridge, blocking access to the rugged territory. The move is meant to keep out a host of unwanted visitors – including anyone who works for Enbridge Inc.
Natural gas or oil pipelines built in the area would threaten bear, moose and salmon populations, says Freda Huson, a leader of the Unist’ot’en – a “resistance camp” established by members of her clan – a small part of northern B.C.’s Wet’suwet’en people. To clearly stake their claim on the land, her group has built and occupied a camp and pit homes on the proposed route of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline south of Houston, B.C.
Barry Robinson, a lawyer for Ecojustice – the non-profit heading up the legal challenge from the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, the Living Oceans Society and ForestEthics Advocacy – said that even if legal proceedings move quickly, and eventually the pipeline project gains legal legitimacy, that won’t address widespread B.C. opposition from First Nations and municipalities. For the federal Conservative government, he said, political considerations could quickly come into play.
Art Sterritt, executive director of the Coastal First Nations – whose opposition stems from concerns that oil spill cleanup technology is inadequate – said that even if the federal cabinet approves Northern Gateway with conditions, opposition in B.C. is so widespread that First Nations will have no trouble enlisting others to help escalate the fight against the oil pipeline project.
“It’s not just Coastal First Nations who are going to be out there standing in front of the bulldozers, it’s also going to be other British Columbians.”
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