Major environmental groups urge BC MPs to tell Prime Minister Harper to reject the risky Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline

Thursday Jun 5, 2014

MEDIA CONTACTS: Ben West, Tar Sands Campaign Director, ForestEthics Advocacy: 604-710-5340; Nikki Skuce, Senior Energy Campaigner, ForestEthics Advocacy: 778-210-0117; Naomi Carniol, Environmental Defence: 416-323-3951 ext. 258; 416-570-2878 (cell); ncarniol@environmentaldefence.ca

VANCOUVER – Today leading environmental organizations from across North America sent an urgent letter to all British Columbia MPs encouraging them to be on the right side of history and without delay tell Prime Minister Harper to reject Enbridge’s Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline.

As a decision on the pipeline is expected from federal cabinet by mid-June, the letter tells British Columbia’s decision-makers: “This is a moment that will define your legacy; the time to act is now.”

The groups sending the letter represent over a million North Americans. The organizations stand in solidarity with the majority of First Nations, British Columbians, politicians and concerned Canadians from coast to coast to coast who have voiced opposition to the irresponsible energy project.

“The pipeline is a recipe for disaster for the coast, communities, the environment, and our shared climate,” says Hannah McKinnon of Environmental Defence. “Northern Gateway is a symbol of a future that North Americans don’t want and a future our shared climate cannot afford.”

The Northern Gateway pipeline would ship half a million barrels of corrosive tar sands oil over the Rocky Mountains, and put over 800 rivers and streams at risk of a tar sands oil spill. The pipeline would cut through the Great Bear Rainforest, threatening old growth forests. Then the tar sands oil would be loaded onto tankers, which would navigate some of the most treacherous water in the Pacific Northwest.

"Introducing oil tankers to this part of the coast is a disaster waiting to happen," says Nikki Skuce, Senior Energy Campaigner with ForestEthics Advocacy. "It is critical that BC MPs join the majority of the province and say no to Enbridge's reckless pipeline and tanker project."

The pipeline would enable further tar sands expansion in Alberta. Despite contributing just two per cent to Canada’s GDP, the tar sands are Canada’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gas pollution and the largest contributor to global warming pollution in the country. They are the single largest obstacle to Canada meeting its international climate target.

Should cabinet irresponsibly approve the pipeline, the groups signing the letter state, “Our commitment to support every legal means to challenge an approval is unwavering. And we will stand with our First Nations and British Columbian allies wherever they need support to oppose this irresponsible pipeline project that would irreversibly damage their land, rights, economy, and our shared climate.”

The groups sending this letter are: 350.org, Council of Canadians, Energy Action Coalition, Environmental Defence, Equiterre, Forest Ethics Advocacy, Greenpeace Canada, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Greenspiration, Rainforest Action Network, Sierra Club Canada, Sierra Club U.S.

Read the full text of the letter here.

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The Issue

BC's iconic North Coast is too valuable to be put at risk for an Enbridge spill read more...

The Facts

Proposed pipeline would facilitate tar sands expansion by 30%, which is Canada’s fasting growing source of greenhouse gas emissions...and other facts read more...

The Solutions

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