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British Columbia’s decision not to support Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline conveys important messages about the pending U.S. review of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline, according to Keystone XL opponent Jane Kleeb.

Kleeb of Bold Nebraska said the Canadian province’s thumbs down Friday on the $5.8 billion Northern Gateway exposes the fallacy of thinking that TransCanada will reroute its project westward from Alberta to British Columbia ports if it’s denied route approval through Nebraska and other states to Gulf Coast refineries.

“Well, their avenue to get to China just got closed,” she said Monday, “so that’s dead in the water.”

Concerns from British Columbia that Enbridge’s spill response plan is “not good enough” also weigh against a U.S. State Department conclusion that development of crude oil deposits in Alberta is a foregone conclusion, Kleeb said.

“I think, fundamentally, they’re going to have to look at the assumptions made in their environmental review,” Kleeb said. “They made the assumption that it’s inevitable that the tar sands will come out of the ground. That’s just been turned on its head.”

British Columbia came out against the Northern Gateway in its final written comments to Canada’s Joint Review Panel, which must make a recommendation on approval or denial to the national government.

In its coverage of the latest pipeline events from a Canadian perspective, the Toronto Globe and Mail turned to Michal Moore, an economics professor at the University of Calgary and a former energy regulator.

Moore said British Columbia does not have veto power over the Northern Gateway. However, Moore told the Globe and Mail, its written objections are “the moral equivalent of throwing down a gauntlet, ‘that you better address our concerns in your decision, no matter what the decision is.’”

Opposition from one of the provinces may carry another sort of problem for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Harper is pressing the U.S. to go along with an oil sands pipeline crossing its border when it appears he can’t get a similar vote of confidence on pipeline safety in his own country.

“Why should we take the risk of the tar sands?” Kleeb said.

Sought out later Monday, TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard declined to discuss possible ramifications from the Northern Gateway for Keystone XL.

Any comment on what happens with the Northern Gateway should come from Enbridge, Howard said, “because that’s not our project” and “we don’t have an oil pipeline in that province.”

Howard also said that TransCanada never has made any statements about building Keystone XL through British Columbia for export purposes if its application to the U.S. government is denied. “We have never said anything about going west,” he said.

Howard cautioned that Keystone XL watchers should be careful not to read too much into what British Columbia is saying about the Northern Gateway.

In broader context, “they have not opposed oil sands development. And refineries there are equipped to take that product today.”

As of Monday, the State Department still is lending an attentive ear to comments from other cabinet level agencies reacting to the draft environmental impact statement it released in March. The draft did not raise any red flags about proceeding with Keystone XL.

There’s no deadline on a final environmental impact statement, Howard said.

“Until that’s produced, there’s not a clock that’s running.”
Source: JournalStar.com

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