The Alberta oil industry was thrown a curve when TransCanada's pipeline through the US to ship oil from the Gulf was delayed by public protest.
Now they are pushing hard for Enbridge's pipeline to the west coast to ship from Kitimat.
West coast First Nations have collectively announced that they will not consent to the pipeline.
Harper has labelled Aboriginals and environmentalists "adversaries" of the government's oil agenda, while the NEB, by law independent of government, was called an "ally".
That's the status, with the high profile hearings now underway.
Industry ... pipeline or not?
The business case for Gateway, providing the markets are and will be what is expected from 2016 onwards, is clear and on that alone the project should proceed. But as we have learned recently market conditions have a habit of jumping the rails of late.
Aside from all of the other issues, once the dust has settled and, for good or ill, the Gateway pipeline is built there is a little nagging doubt perhaps as to it maybe being the right pipeline at the wrong time. Will the Asia Pacific market several years down the line be as receptive to imported oil from Canada as it was?
From the hearings ...
The hearings averaged from 80 to 100 in- person spectators each day -- a typical number, said Enbridge spokesman Paul Stanway
"They've all been well attended, some more than others," said Stanway, who has attended every hearing to date, including an evening Prince George, B.C., meeting that drew more than 250 people.
As the project applicant, Stanway says it's not for Enbridge to comment on the length and effectiveness of the hearings.
"We are a regulated industry and this is the process we have to deal with," he said.
Before attending the Edmonton hearings, local resident Denis Budd was a staunch Gateway supporter, but now says hearing the testimony has changed his outlook on the project.
"I feel we really need the pipeline and I came here with that idea that we have to have one, end of story," said Budd choking up.
"I wasn't quite expecting the depth of emotion the First Nations people are presenting. I am saddened that they're talking about the loss of a way of life and they're trying to desperately get other cultures to hear of their loss. I think it's really important that given such a huge project that's really going have an impact far into the future, let me have an impact," he said.
The panel is scheduled to make 16 stops across B.C. and Alberta. The current round of hearings is for some 200 registered intervenors who are slated to give oral evidence testimonies, mainly from First Nations groups and elders.
More than 4,500 people are expected to give short 10-minute oral presentations starting in April. Enbridge will testify and address panel concerns later in the process.
If approved on schedule, the line wil begin construction in 2014 near Bruderheim, with bitum
... cost benefit analysis of the pipeline. CJ's Norman Jacob detailed how for every 2.41 barrels of oil pumped through the pipeline, it would take one barrel worth of energy.
"The purpose of our presentation is to broaden the economic analysis, to include biophysica aspects," said Jacob. After the presentation, the three-member pane rejected the evidence stating it was not within the guidelines for this part of the review.
It is something former Prince George Mayor and current chair of the Northern Gateway Alliance Colin Kinsley agreed with."You've got to feel sorry for the Joint Review Panel members sitting up there having to listen to something when the rules were definitely broken by obviously some very professional gentlemen," said Kinsley. The panel is expected to return to Prince George when evidence based hearings begin.
Edited by jacee, 01 February 2012 - 03:46 PM.