Enbridge Offers Improved Pipeline Design
Opponents say it won't sway their view of Northern Gateway
Enbridge says it's listening.
The Calgary-based pipeline company announced changes to its Northern Gateway project that it says will enhance the safety of its proposed Alberta-to-Kitimat pipeline.
All along, Enbridge has been touting its Northern Gateway project as "state of the art" -- and would employ the most advanced technology, safety measures and procedures in the industry today. However, as evidenced by mounting protests across the northwest and throughout the country, the company decided more was needed.
"We had full confidence in the ability to build and operate the pipeline safely, and I think the experts who are looking at it through the Joint Review Panel would have come to the same decision," said John Carruthers, Northern Gateway Pipelines President today. "But clearly as we sat through all of the hearings, and saw the evidence and heard the statements, we hadn't convinced the public of that, so these are things to, as we sift through those, try to be responsive to what we've heard through our consultative process."
The changes announced today would add up to $500-million to the $5.5-billion cost of the project. Enbridge proposes to increase the thickness of the pipeline at river crossings, increase the number of inspections on the line by at least 50%, and staff remote pumping stations around the clock.
Opponents, however, aren't impressed. Keith Stewart of Greenpeace says Enbridge is now in "damage control mode", trying to offer up technical fixes to a problem that is not purely technical. And that today's announcement won't change the wall of opposition the company is facing.