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Emotion mounts over feds' scramble for pipeline support in BC

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What part of 'no' don't they understand?

Environmental groups expressed frustration that the federal government was still pushing to sway British Columbians to support Northern Gateway, even though the province officially rejected the project in May.  

"I think it's interesting that Harper prorogued Parliament so that they can come out west and act as salespersons for the oil industry," Wilderness Committee campaigner 
Eoin Madden said. 

"It's alarming," he said. "[Oil lobbyists] have created a situation in which the government doesn't even feel it has to represent us anymore."

Pat Moss, Executive Director at the Northwest Institute for Bioregional Research, called the cabinet ministers' trip a "desperate last effort" that is insulting to First Nations. 

"Over 160 First Nations have signed the Save the Fraser Declaration, prohibiting the transport of tar sands crude through their lands and waters. What part of 'no' does the federal government not understand?" asked Caitlyn Vernon, a Sierra Club BC campaigner.

Doubts over proposed Kinder Morgan expansion

Kinder Morgan Burnaby facility (photo above)

As for the Kinder Morgan's pipeline expansion in southern BC, academics who have studied oil spill risks say the costs far outweigh the benefits. 

UBC Fisheries Economics Research Unit director Dr. Rashid Sumaila said he wasn't against the pipelines from an ideological standpoint, but thought the risks outweighed potential gains from the project. 

"The insurance issue has come up again and again, especially when you look at the Enbridge Northern Gateway. The potential losses can be over nine billion dollars, if a big spill were to happen." 

In the case of a tanker or pipeline spill by Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline, he said the costs could be even higher. 

"As a society, we need to take this into account. Who will pay? [In a crisis], we don't have the time or luxury to argue over who must pay."  

"It ends up falling back on the taxpayers' shoulders," he said.

When a reporter asked Dr. Erica Frank, a Canadian Research Chair in public health at UBC with credentials from Harvard, Yale and Stanford, for her view on the ministerial visit, she wrote back comments addressed directly to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.  

Dr. Erica Frank, Canadian Research Chair, public health

Dr. Erica Frank in a photograph by Yukiko Onley

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