Supertankers to the coast: Canada approves building controversial pipeline

Seattle PI

Posted on June 17, 2014 | By Joel Connelly

The Canadian government on Tuesday gave green light to construction of a pipeline that would carry 525,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta’s tar sands to a British Columbia fjord, where it would load onto supertankers tankers and be shipped to Asia.

But the controversial Northern Gateway Pipeline faces concerted opposition from Aboriginal Canadians, environmentalists, and parties challenging Prime Minister Stephen Harper in next year’s Canadian election. The British Columbia government says there is “a lot of work to do” before it issues permits for the $7.9 billion project.

The pipeline’s destination is Kitimat on the north coast of B.C.. Supertankers would have to traverse long, narrow Douglas Channel. They would also sail through often-wild waters of Hecate Strait between the Queen Charlotte Islands Islands and the B.C. Mainland.

Streams in the area are spawning grounds to 5,000 salmon populations. Hecate Strait is used as a migration route for many of the major salmon runs of the West Coast…

Speaking for the environmental community, Chris Genovali of the Raincoast Conservation Foundation argued: “Salmon are the very soul of British Columbia and the lifeblood of our coastal ecosystem. The value of salmon in the ecological and human communities that they support is immense…”

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