CORRECTED-B.C. leader warns of national crisis over oil pipeline-report

Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:38am EDT
 
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(Fixes spelling of premier's name in second paragraph)

Oct 22 (Reuters) - The premier of British Columbia said that any move by the Canadian government to approve a controversial crude oil pipeline over the province's objections would lead to national political crisis.

While Ottawa will ultimately decide whether or not Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline is approved, if the federal government pushes ahead without public support it will end up provoking both sides of the debate, provincial leader Christy Clark told the Globe and Mail newspaper in an interview published on Monday.

"I don't see any appetite for it," she said. "Heaven forbid, it would be a national political crisis. Whether or not people supported the pipeline, they would band together to fight the federal government if they decided to intrude into British Columbia without our consent."

Clark's government has taken an increasingly hard stance on the proposed pipeline, with the province seeking more financial benefits from the project, along with enhanced environmental protection. The premier has threatened to block the federally regulated project by withholding permits and electricity.

There is little public support in British Columbia for the controversial pipeline, which would ship crude from the Alberta oil sands to the Pacific Coast, where it would be loaded onto tankers and transported to Asia and other markets.

Hundreds of people are expected to gather outside the province's legislature on Monday to take part in a sit-in protest over the C$6 billion ($6.06 billion) project. ($1 = 0.9908 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Julie Gordon; Editing by Alden Bentley)