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Local politicians react to federal approval of Northern Gateway

Local politicians are weighing in on the federal approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline.

NDP Skeena/Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen says the fight against the Enbridge pipeline will continue despite today’s federal approval.

“Let’s just pull back for a moment. Over 130 First Nations, virtually every community that has taken any kind of a vote on this, the B.C. government, the Union of B.C. Municipalities and over two thirds of British Columbians have all told this government ‘No’. And yet the arrogance and the belligerence of the Conservative government thinks that they are able to resist all of that.”

Cullen says the pipeline is a sell out of good oil upgrading and refining jobs and threatens a multi-billion dollar economy in B.C. as well as being an environmental disaster.

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He says the federal government is giving an approval with still no clean up plan in place for the pipeline or the tankers and no acknowledgement that bitumen sinks in water making it virtually impossible to clean up.

He says politically this approval will be a nightmare for the Conservative government when B.C. voters hit the polls.

Both the Liberals and the NDP have said they would reverse the acceptance of the JRP approval of the project if elected and environmental and First Nations groups have launched legal action which Cullen says will likely go to the Supreme Court.

British Columvians opposed to the project are hoping that the LetBCVote initiative will act as insurance that the provincial government will stand up against the pipeline.

The Dogwood Initiative says the citizen referendum vote, similar to the fight HST campaign, is ready to go if Premier Christy Clark doesn’t stand her ground on the five conditions she says must be met before B.C. approval of the project.

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However, NDP Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson says not only is he disappointed with the federal approval, he is also suspicious of how the B.C. government will act moving forward.

“They had the opportunity to make an impact on the review process but chose to give up B.C.’s jurisdiction to the federal government, the National Energy Board panel. I’m really thinking that it could have been a different result if she hadn’t signed over that responsibility.

He says now is Christy Clark’s chance to stop sitting on the fence and stand up against the project.

He says court cases have already been launched by B.C. First Nations and if Clark opposes the project it will save everyone a long and expensive court battle.

Donaldson says despite Clark saying this week that her five conditions for the project haven’t been met, the Liberal Finance Minister was saying last week that the project had hurdles that could be overcome.

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Donaldson says that sends mixed messages on the B.C. government’s stance on the pipeline moving forward.

And Smithers mayor Taylor Bachrach says he wasn’t surprised by the approval announcement today.

He says if you look at all the facts surrounding Northern Gateway and the opposition to it, “It seems unrealistic that this pipeline would ever stand a chance of actually being constructed.”

Bachrach says he thinks most people were hoping in their hearts that today’s announcement would be different and that would be the end of it.

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