Last week I told you about the Aboriginal Equity Partners, comprised of thirty one First Nations and Metis groups that would be on the Northern Gateway pipeline construction route who support the project Enbridge has been planning for over a decade.
With 45 aboriginal communities on the construction pathway, only 14 groups oppose the project that would include twin pipelines running from Bruderheim, AB to Kitimat, BC to deliver Alberta bitumen to a marine terminal for export.
Construction was recommended for approval by the National Energy Board (NEB) in 2013 with 209 conditions and now the federal court of approvals has overturned a decision made by the previous conservative government to green light the project in 2014.
Eight aboriginal groups, two environmental groups and one labour union initiated legal proceedings and it’s now been ruled that Aboriginal communities were not consulted sufficiently, yet of the 209 conditions, 142 had to do with Aboriginal engagement which is about 70% of conditions.
With a majority of aboriginal groups affected supporting construction, it took only eight communities to overturn and as a result, the NEB announced they’re suspending a joint request from Enbridge and Aboriginal Equity Partners to extend a sunset clause.
One condition required construction to commence by 2016 so the groups asked for a three year extension. The NEB have also suspended their review of filings meaning that it goes back to the Liberals to make further decisions regarding the project.
The decision to turn Northern Gateway over to the Liberals was purely political and doesn’t represent the majority.
We know the Liberals don't support the project so it’s as good as done. The conditions were hard enough to satisfy but with this added layer through the Feds, it will be next to impossible to get a shovel in the ground.