SOURCE: WWF-Canada

December 19, 2013 17:58 ET

JRP Northern Gateway Decision Fails Science and Canadians, Says WWF

TORONTO, ON and VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - December 19, 2013) -  Today's Joint Review Panel decision to support the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline disregards overwhelming public opposition and sound scientific evidence, says WWF-Canada.

"We are extremely disappointed the JRP has not heard the people of B.C. who agree oil pipelines and tankers present too great a risk to the Great Bear region," says WWF President and CEO David Miller. "Responsible development means determining where risks should never be taken. The Great Bear region is a global ecological treasure that should not be jeopardized."

"We urge the Canadian government to boldly defend this globally important Canadian place by deciding "no" on Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline project."

WWF says the Enbridge project -- that would bring twin oil pipelines through the Great Bear Rainforest and up to 220 oil supertankers a year through its treacherous coastal waters -- is a threat to coastal communities, species and ecosystems. One major oil spill would destroy the results of decades of conservation work in the region.

WWF's submission to the Joint Review Process shows that an oil spill at sea would devastate critical habitat for recovering populations of humpback whales along the Great Bear coast. Its oil supertankers would increase underwater noise levels in some of B.C.'s quietest ocean waters that whales depend on for their survival.

A WWF-funded study conducted by the University of British Columbia also shows the cost to First Nations and coastal communities -- concluding that in a worst case tanker spill, any economic gains from the project to the North Coast region would be wiped out by the cost of a spill.

Facts

  • A WWF study, carried out by Australia's Curtin University, JASCO Applied Sciences in Canada and Scotland's University of St. Andrews, predicted noise levels -- based on a projected 220 tanker visits a year by Enbridge Northern Gateway -- could increase 10-fold in B.C.'s northern fjords, impacting some of its quietest and most critical whale habitat.
  • A study funded by WWF-Canada, and conducted by economists at the University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre, estimates losses of $300-million in economic activity, along with spill cleanup costs of up to $9.6-billion, could nullify potential economic gains proposed by Enbridge Northern Gateway.
  • A recent study of oil spill emergency prevention, preparedness, and response (EPPR) commissioned by the Province of B.C. showed that only three or four per cent of a 10-thousand-tonne oil spill on the north coast would be recovered after five days. 

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