The Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan pipelines have to undergo intense environmental scrutiny before the province will give them approval, Premier Christy Clark declared to hundreds of Union of B.C. Municipalities delegates Friday.
In a speech that marked the end of the week-long convention in Victoria, Clark took a hard line on the proposed pipelines and on the negative reaction she’s had from Alberta so far.
”Right now, it’s a bad deal for B.C.,” she said, referring particularly to the Enbridge project.
B.C. has set out five criteria that all heavy-oil pipeline projects have to meet. Three are environmental, one involves First Nations and one involves the province and cost-sharing, she said.
Clark is meeting Monday with Premier Alison Redford to talk about B.C.’s concerns and to set the record straight.
“The Alberta media has presented this as a debate just about B.C.’s fair share. That’s not the biggest part,” she said.
“This debate is about making sure we protect our environment first and foremost.”
The same five criteria apply not just to Enbridge, but also Kinder Morgan, which wants to twin its pipeline between Edmonton and Burnaby. That pipeline runs through Kamloops.
“The same principles apply to every heavy oil pipeline coming through B.C.,” said Clark.
“I want to be sure they understand how much we cherish our environment. . . . If our conditions are not met, the Enbridge pipeline will not be built. Period.”
So far, B.C. has stood firm that the risks of transporting heavy oil through pipelines far outweigh the benefits to the province, she said.
Mayor Peter Milobar said any project should be held to a good environmental standard. As B.C. is a province full of natural resources, it doesn’t mean industry can’t happen — but that the proposals have to be environmentally sound.
On Thursday, UBCM delegates held a squeaker of a vote on a resolution opposing the expansion of oil tanker traffic along B.C.’s Pacific coast.
The resolution passed, but only with 51 per cent.
B.C. Environment Minister Terry Lake said until the five criteria can be met by the pipelines, the province won’t get on board.