Friends of Wild Salmon Resources

KEEPING OUR COAST CLEAN: FAQ’s about an oil tanker ban on BC’s Pacific North Coast

(January 2016)

In November 2015, Prime Minister Trudeau publicly gave Ministers in his Cabinet a mandate to formalize an oil tanker moratorium on the north coast of British Columbia. West Coast Environmental Law has been an outspoken advocate for a legislated oil tanker prohibition on the Pacific north coast for many years, and we have been getting a lot of questions about this issue and its possible implications. This backgrounder addresses many of the frequently asked questions.

Access this resource

EMBROILED: Volume 1 - Salmon, Tankers and the Enbridge Northern Gateway Proposal

(December 2013)

This report by the Raincoast Conservation Foundation says the consequences to salmon from Northern Gateway’s proposed oil tankers and Kitimat oil terminal are not worth taking. The report, Embroiled: Salmon, Tankers and the Enbridge Northern Gateway Proposal, explores the connections between the oil industry’s proposed activities and how those activities can adversely affect salmon.

Access this resource

Case Closed: Enbridge failed to prove Northern Gateway pipelines in the national interest

(December 2013)


This report compiles evidence highlighting Enbridge’s failure to prove benefits and address adverse environmental effects. Gaps in Enbridge evidence highlighted in the report include outlining an oil spill response plan, defining the pipeline’s proposed route, providing adequate baseline studies, assessing impacts to aboriginal culture and a comprehensive study of the unstable coastal terrain the pipeline would cross. As well, the process did not address climate change or environmental impacts in the tar sands , despite accepting economic evidence based on tar sands expansion.

Access this resource

Pipelines and Promises

(December 2012)

A summary of missing Enbridge evidence before the JRP hearings
During the JRP hearings, registered First Nations, labour and environmental groups, political representatives, community based groups and individuals have been able to cross-examine Enbridge
on its application and evidence to date. What has been obvious since September is that Enbridge has a frightening number of gaps in its information that won’t be prepared until after approval
is granted. Below is a summary by Forest Ethics which identifies some—but not all—of the gaps that have been revealed over the course of the JRP hearings in Edmonton and Prince George.

Access this resource

Potential economic impact of a tanker spill on ocean-­based industries in British Columbia

(December 2012)

This study conducted by the UBC Fisheries Centres and funded by the World Wildlife Foundation looks at the potential losses to commercial fisheries, tourism, aquaculture and port activities in the area in the event of a tanker accident.  The study highlights that if a tanker spill occurs, the economic gains from the Enbridge Northern Gateway project to the North Coast region would be wiped out by the costs of the spill.

Access this resource

Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines: A Dead-End Investment

(October 2012)

This updated investor briefing by Forest Ethics highlights First Nations legal risks, political risks from British Columbia, and reputational risks to the company. This report was prepared in October 2012 as Enbridge investors, analysts and bankers met in Toronto and New York for the company’s Investor Days to encourage them to question the business case for the company continuing to pursue this project.

Access this resource

Tanker Technology: Limitations of Double Hulls

(September 2012)

Tanker Technology: Limitations of Double Hulls, a report by the Living Oceans Society explains that double-hull tankers are not a panacea for oil spill prevention. They may reduce the severity of an oil spill from a grounding or low energy collision, but they are susceptible to a range of design, construction, operation, and maintenance issues, some which may actually increase the risk of an oil spill. Furthermore, double hulls do not address the role of human factors in tanker casualties which have been attributed to as much as 80 percent of oil discharges.

Access this resource

Enbridge Pipe Dreams and Nightmares

(March 2012)

The Economic Costs & Benefits of the Proposed Northern Gateway
This study by the Canadian Centre for Polict Alternatives reviews the economic case for the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline and casts serious doubt on claims that the pipeline will lead to substantial job creation and other economic benefits.  The study finds that Enbridge’s job creation estimates are based on flawed modeling and questionable assumptions.

Access this resource

An Economic Assessment of Northern Gateway

(January 2012)

Robyn Allan, a former ICBC CEO and former senior economist of the B.C. Central Credit Union outlines in her detailed analyis that Enbridge's proposal fails to identify the impact of building pipelines on the Canadian dollar and overstates the growth of royalties to government treasuries. She concludes that the Northern Gateway project "poses a threat" to Canada's "economic growth and long term development".

Access this resource

Analysis of Skeena River Tributaries Downstream From the Proposed Enbridge Pipeline

(December 2011)

Jack A. Stanford, and Diane C. Whited were contracted by the Northwest Institute for Bioregional Research (Smithers, BC) to use existing databases to produce a series of maps describing the geomorphology of tributaries of the Skeena River, British Columbia that will be crossed by the proposed Enbridge pipeline. The objective was to develop and map metrics that delineate the areas of the Skeena River and its tributaries most vulnerable to potential pipeline spills associated with the proposed Enbridge corridor to Kitimat, BC.

Access this resource

Pipeline and Tanker Trouble: The Impact to British Columbia’s Communities, Rivers, and Pacific Coast

(November 2011)

Pipeline and Tanker Trouble, a report written by the Natural Resource Defence Council, Pembina Institute and Living Oceans Society, uncovers the dangerous nature of diluted bitumen and details the places at risk of an oil spill.  Diluted bitumen is not the same as conventional oil; it is more likely to cause corrosion in the pipelines through which it flows, as well as in the tankers that carry it through marine ecosystems. Compared with conventional crude, bitumen blends are more acidic, thicker, and more sulphuric.  The inland and marine ecosystems that the pipeline(s) propose to travers are dangerous and provide important habitat to a diverse range of species.

Access this resource

Hillslope and Fluvial Processes Along the Proposed Pipeline Corridor

(September 2011)

This paper by James W. Schwab P.Geo., Eng.L. provides an overview of the landscape, terrain, hillslope processes and fluvial processes found within the general area of the proposed pipeline corridor across west central B.C. The intent of this paper is to help formulate discussion, encourage more in-depth study, direct more detailed on-the-ground investigation, and stimulate investigation into possible safer alternative routes to the unstable terrain found in west central B.C. This paper does not discuss environmental consequences and risk associated with the proposed pipelines although the environmental consequences of an oil pipeline break do differ considerably from a break sustained by a natural gas pipeline.

Access this resource

Tar Sands Pipeline Safety Risks

(February 2011)

Tar Sands Pipeline Safety Risks, a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council and others, shows that by its nature raw tar sands oil or diluted bitumen is more corrosive and more likely to result in pipeline failures. The risks of spills from tar sands pipelines are high and U.S. safety regulations are not enough to protect special places such as the Great Lakes, the Nebraska Sandhills and the Ogallala Aquifer. With the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in the middle of its environmental impact assessment by the U.S. State Department, getting a better understanding of what raw tar sands oil in a pipe means for our environment and safety is more important than ever.

Access this resource

Financial Vulnerability Assessment: Who Would Pay for Tanker Spills Associated with Northern Gateway

(January 2011)

If Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline is approved, Canadian taxpayers could be on the hook for billions of dollars to cover the clean up and compensation costs in the event of a catastrophic oil tanker spill. This report also concludes that, according to Canada’s oil spill regulations, Enbridge is not responsible for any of the costs associated with a spill once the oil is loaded onto tankers.

Access this resource

Pipeline to Nowhere?

(December 2010)

While Enbridge has actively promoted the perceived benefits of its proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, some critical questions remain unanswered. This report by the Pembina Institute aims to address these uncertainties and unanswered questions, such as: Is there a demonstrated demand for this pipeline? Is there a need for more export pipeline capacity? And does the Joint Review Panel have enough information to make an informed decision?

Access this resource

Opening the Door to Oil Sands Expansion

(March 2010)

The proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Project will facilitate the expansion of the Alberta oil sands. If the current business-as-usual management of the the oil sands prevail, the environmental impacts associated with the pipeline will be significant. Opening the Door to Oil Sands Expansion highlights the climate, land, water and air impacts that would occur as a result of this project. It recommends that before further steps are taken to develop the Enbridge oil sands pipeline, the environmental management concerns of the oil sands need to be addressed and a public inquiry that could engage communities in the full range of impacts be concluded.

Access this resource

Oil and Salmon Don’t Mix

(October 2009)

Four major pipeline projects have been proposed for northern British Columbia over the next five years, including the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project. All of the proposed pipelines would cross and at times run parallel to important salmon habitats in the Upper Fraser, Skeena and Kitimat watersheds. This report from the Pembina Institute provides an overview of salmon resources in the affected watersheds and examines how pipeline construction and operation would impact salmon; the likelihood of spills; and the impacts of a spill on salmon. The four page fact sheet, "Oil and Salmon Don't Mix," highlights the importance of salmon in northern British Columbia and gives an overview of the risks posed to salmon by the Enbridge oil sands pipelines.

Access this resource

Coalbed Methane and Salmon (Pembina Institute report and fact sheet)

(May 2008)

Coalbed methane (CBM) development has been proposed for Northwest British Columbia's Headwaters region, where three of the province's most important wild salmon rivers, the Skeena, Nass and Stikine, begin. If development proceeds, it would be the first time commercial coalbed methane production has been attempted in salmon-bearing watersheds. This fact sheet summarizes the primary ways CBM extraction could affect salmon and salmon habitat. It also outlines three principles for effective CBM regulations that would address risks to salmon and other concerns.

Access this resource

Report of the Special Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture

(May 2007)

On November 22, 2005, the Legislative Assembly agreed that a Special Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture be appointed to examine, inquire into and make recommendations with respect to Sustainable Aquaculture in British Columbia and in particular to consider the economic and environmental impacts of the aquaculture industry in BC; sustainable options for aquaculture in BC; the interaction between aquaculture, wild fish and the marine environment; and BC’s regulatory regime compared to other jurisdictions. The link below provides access to the Committee's final report.

Access this resource