Canadian review panel approves plans for controversial pipeline

Alberta is one step closer to expanding its oil sands, with or without Keystone

Topics: tar sands, Canada, Keystone XL pipeline, Oil, ,

Canadian review panel approves plans for controversial pipelineOil sands development in Northern Alberta (Credit: Christopher Kolaczan/Shutterstock)

If Keystone XL ends up getting the ax from Obama, Canada already has a backup plan. A proposed $7.4 billion pipeline, which would connect Alberta’s oil sands to the country’s Pacific coast, was approved Thursday by an environmental and economic review panel. Reuters reports:

The controversial pipeline would have the capacity to ship 525,000 barrels of oil sands crude per day from Edmonton, Alberta, to a deepwater port at Kitimat, British Columbia, on the Pacific Coast. A second line would return 193,000 barrels per day of condensate, which is used to blend into tar-like oil sands bitumen so it can flow on pipelines.

“Based on a scientific and precautionary approach to this complex review, the panel found that the project, if built and operated in compliance with the conditions set out in its report, would be in the public interest,” the panel said in a statement.

Canada’s federal government now has 180 days to decide whether to accept the joint review panel’s recommendations on the proposed 1,170-kilometer (725-mile) pipeline.

The pipeline has faced strong opposition from environmental and aboriginal groups, who worry not just about the long-term effects of tapping even more fossil fuels, but about the more immediate risk of spills. The panel’s approval came with 209 conditions, including preparations for potential spills and a plan to protect marine mammals. According to the New York Times, they felt that would be sufficient to quell environmental concerns:



The three-member review panel concluded that while a major oil spill is unlikely, “a large spill would initially have significant adverse environmental effects on ecosystems.” But it concluded that any harm created by a spill could be cleaned up and affected areas returned “to a functioning ecosystem similar to that existing prior to the spill.”

“After weighing all the oral and written evidence, the panel found that Canada and Canadians would be better off with the Enbridge Northern Gateway project than without it,” the report said.

Lindsay Abrams

Lindsay Abrams is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email labrams@salon.com.

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 10
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie

    A contemporary romantic comedy set to Elvis Costello and lots of luxurious and sinful sugary treats.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Welcome to Temptation" by Jennifer Crusie

    Another of Crusie's romantic comedies, this one in the shadow of an ostentatiously phallic water tower.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "A Gentleman Undone" by Cecilia Grant

    A Regency romance with beautifully broken people and some seriously steamy sex.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Black Silk" by Judith Ivory

    A beautifully written, exquisitely slow-building Regency; the plot is centered on a box with some very curious images, as Edward Gorey might say.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "For My Lady's Heart" by Laura Kinsale

    A medieval romance, the period piece functions much like a dystopia, with the courageous lady and noble knight struggling to find happiness despite the authoritarian society.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Sweet Disorder" by Rose Lerner

    A Regency that uses the limitations on women of the time to good effect; the main character is poor and needs to sell her vote ... or rather her husband's vote. But to sell it, she needs to get a husband first ...   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Frenemy of the People" by Nora Olsen

    Clarissa is sitting at an awards banquet when she suddenly realizes she likes pictures of Kimye for both Kim and Kanye and she is totally bi. So she texts to all her friends, "I am totally bi!" Drama and romance ensue ... but not quite with who she expects. I got an advanced copy of this YA lesbian romance, and I’d urge folks to reserve a copy; it’s a delight.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "The Slightest Provocation" by Pam Rosenthal

    A separated couple works to reconcile against a background of political intrigue; sort of "His Gal Friday" as a spy novel set in the Regency.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Again" by Kathleen Gilles Seidel

    Set among workers on a period soap opera, it manages to be contemporary and historical both at the same time.   Read the whole essay.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...