NEB fails BC communities, salmon and wildlife

Northern Gateway not worth risk to wild salmon

Sidney, British Columbia – The consequences to BC’s wild salmon from Northern Gateway’s tar sands pipeline, oil tankers and oil terminal are not worth taking, asserted the Raincoast Conservation Foundation in response to the Joint Review Panel announcement today.

“Salmon, and the ecological and human communities that they support, are the very soul of British Columbia and the lifeblood of our coastal ecosystem. The decision to approve Northern Gateway will ultimately come with irreparable costs in the long term. This pipeline should never be built,” said Chris Genovali, executive director of Raincoast.

More than 5,000 spawning populations of wild salmon, the foundation species for BC’s coastal ecosystem, come from the watersheds that surround the Northern Gateway tanker routes. These salmon represent 58% of the Canada’s Pacific salmon and are the backbone of BC’s remarkable coastal ecosystems, the iconic wildlife that rely on these fish, and the basis of multi-million dollar economies in eco tourism, salmon-based tourism and the salmon resource sector.

“We were hoping the NEB had heard the concerns of British Columbians, but obviously political and corporate oil agendas supersede the interests of the citizenry,” said Misty MacDuffee, Raincoast biologist.  “We’ve seen the approved expansion of the tar sands Jackpine mine despite known impacts to the health and survival of people and wildlife; I guess we shouldn’t be surprised when a pipeline most British Columbians don’t want is given the thumbs up.”

Raincoast made a lengthy submission to the NEB on how Northern Gateway threatens BC’s wild salmon and the wildlife that depend on them. These threats are not just from large oil spills, but from the routine activities that accompany oil tankers and terminals.  Additionally, the increased CO2 that comes from burning this oil threatens ocean food webs, again affecting salmon.

In another blow by the federal government to BC’s wild salmon this week, Fisheries and Oceans Canada gave authorization to the NEB to approve the destruction of salmon habitat. “They refer to this as streamlining,” said MacDuffee, “But describing it as steamrolling would be more accurate. Today’s decision shows how little distance there is between the interests of the oil industry and any oversight by the federal government. You couldn’t slide a salmon fin between the two.”

A new Raincoast report, Embroiled: Salmon, Tankers and the Enbridge Northern Gateway Proposal, examines the connections between the Northern Gateway activities and how they can adversely affect salmon. The report examines how Enbridge failed to assess the potential affects to these fish. Further, Enbridge dismisses any consequences to wild salmon based on superficial reviews and flawed studies that collected no empirical data on salmon. Obviously the NEB accepted these reviews despite Raincoast’s lengthy criticism of their quality and usefulness.


Raincoast Contacts:
Chris Genovali
Misty MacDuffee

Download the report at