Salmon advocates question choice of pipeline panel
(Smithers, BC) The recently announced Joint Review Panel for the proposed Enbridge pipeline lacks the local knowledge needed to fairly assess the impacts of the project, according to representatives from Friends of Wild Salmon.
The National Energy Board (NEB) recently appointed Sheila Leggett, Kenneth Bateman, and Hans Matthews to form the panel that will look into the proposed Enbridge oil pipeline between the Alberta tar sands and Kitimat.
Friends of Wild Salmon representatives said the NEB should have picked panel members who have experience in the region, and who understand local First Nations, the North Coast, and the area’s unique salmon habitat issues.
“The NEB has made a flawed process even worse by appointing a panel with no experience in this part of the world,” said Friends of Wild Salmon Coordinator Pat Moss. “It is important to have members with industry experience; however, this should be balanced by having members who are strong in other areas.”
Friends of Wild Salmon chair Jen Rice noted noted that the scope of the panel’s review is to include the potential environmental effects associated with marine traffic in coastal waters, yet the panelists lack marine experience.
“The lack of marine and coastal experience is particularly troubling given that tanker spills pose some of the greatest risks associated with this project,” said Rice.
Friends of Wild Salmon is proposing that the NEB add members to the panel to achieve a broader range of qualifications.
“The review panel for the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline had seven members and we feel that given the significance of this proposal, it deserves at least a similar level of wide-ranging
expertise. The Enbridge pipeline has the potential to change the face of the North and B.C. coast forever,” said Rice.
Of the three panel members, both Sheila Leggett and Kenneth Bateman live in Calgary. The third, Hans Matthews, lives in Ontario.
“This pipeline has international, national and regional implications,” said Moss. “We believe the panel should include people who are familiar with the region and its unique landscape and cultures.”
Pat Moss: (250) 847-9693
Jen Rice: (250) 600-2455