300 scientists have sent an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, urging him to reject the Joint Review Panel report that recommended approval of Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project.
If the project goes ahead, it will carry 525,000 barrels per day of tar sands bitumen from Alberta Kitimat on west coast, where it will be shipped overseas by tanker. The project was opposed by the citizens of Kitimat in a recent referendum, and has been condemned by most of the First Nations whose lands are on the pipeline route.
The scientists say the panel, which was prohibited by the government from considering the project’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, produced a report that is “not balanced or defensible due to five major flaws.”
The review, the scientists say:
- Failed to adequately articulate the rationale for its findings,
- Considered only a narrow set of risks but a broad array of benefits, thereby omitting adequate consideration of key issues,
- Relied on information from the proponent, without external evaluation,
- Contradicted scientific evidence contained in official government documents, and
- Treated uncertain risks as unimportant risks, and assumed these would be negated by the proponent’s yet to be developed mitigation measures.