May 31, 2013 16:08 ET

WWF Applauds the Government of BC's Strong Stand on the Northern Gateway Pipeline

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - May 31, 2013) - Earlier this week, WWF, Coastal First Nations, and Canadians for the Great Bear sent an open letter to Premier Christy Clark urging her to maintain a strong position against the proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline. Today, in its formal written submission to the Joint Review Panel, the Government of British Columbia did just that. "The Province states that it cannot support the project as presented to the panel because Northern Gateway has been unable to address British Columbians' environmental concerns," reads a statement from B.C.'s Ministry of Environment, released today.

"Today we saw a strong act of leadership by the B.C. government," says Darcy Dobell, Vice President Pacific Region and Conservation for WWF-Canada. "The Great Bear region of British Columbia is not the place for an oil pipeline or oil tankers. Not today, not ever, not at any price."

In its written statement to the Joint Review Panel, the B.C. government suggested that it was not satisfied with the proponent's responses to the risk of an oil spill resulting from this project. Factors such as the "incompletely understood" behavior of diluted bitumen in water, the difficult terrain of the route, and the profound impact of a potential spill on pristine river environments led to the government's conclusion that a certificate for the project should not be granted. "Trust me is not good enough in this case," reads the government's submission.

"There is simply no way to clean up a diluted bitumen spill in this region," says Dobell. "The impact would be disastrous-not only to this globally important ecosystem, but to the regional economy and the people whose livelihoods depend on the rivers and the sea."

WWF commends the Government of B.C. for standing up for the Great Bear region and for giving voice to the majority of British Columbians who oppose this project. "This was the right decision," Dobell says. "Not just for today, but for the future of this region and B.C."

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