Review of Northern Gateway pipeline in jeopardy from budget cuts

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The Toronto Star article Review of Northern Gateway pipeline in jeopardy from budget cuts states “While Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the fate of Enbridge’s proposed pipeline from the Alberta oilsands to tankers on the British Columbia coast will be based on science and not politics, documents show some of that science isn’t forthcoming. And critics say there is no time for the science to be completed before a federal deadline for the environmental assessment currently underway.”

The article goes to to explain that “Earlier this month, Harper told reporters in Vancouver that “decisions on these kinds of projects are made through an independent evaluation conducted by scientists into the economic costs and risks that are associated with the project, and that’s how we conduct our business.” He went on to say “the only way that government can handle controversial projects of this manner is to ensure that things are evaluated on an independent basis, scientifically, and not simply on political criteria.” But the federal government recently sent letters to 92 habitat staff members within Fisheries and Oceans in B.C., telling them that their positions will be cut. Thirty-two of them will be laid off outright. The cuts will mean the department in B.C. has half the habitat staff it had a decade ago. All but five of the province’s fisheries field offices will be cut as part of a $79 million — 5.8 per cent — cut to the department’s operational budget, including the offices in Prince George and Smithers that would have had the lead in monitoring pipeline effects.”

 

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