CALGARY, Alberta, June 14 (Reuters) - British Columbia Premier Christy Clark said on Friday she does not support the construction of Enbridge Inc’s C$6 billion ($5.8 billion) Northern Gateway pipeline plan unless five conditions are met, but did not rule out eventually approving the project.
World-leading oil-spill response and clean-up systems were among the five conditions Clark demanded last year before the province would approve any heavy oil pipelines across its territory. The province does not believe that bar has been met and last month said the line should not be built.
Speaking at a press conference alongside Alberta Premier Alison Redford, Clark said while her government was not yet able to support Enbridge, it was not opposed to resource development and there may still be time for the project to meet British Columbia’s demands.
“There are a few months until the Joint Review Panel (issues its recommendations) so we will see what happens with that ... There are five conditions that we set in place and they have not changed,” Clark said.
Enbridge is seeking approval to build the 525,000 barrel per day pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands to the port of Kitimat in BC.
“We think it’s very positive the two premiers are talking about common interests. The agenda and the time lines for the nature of these conditions will be set by the premiers and we think that is appropriate,” an Enbridge spokesman said.
The project is a key part of efforts by the federal and Alberta governments to open up export markets to Asia, but has run into fierce opposition from environmentalists and aboriginal communities along the line’s route.
The Joint Review Panel will decide if the project should be approved. Final hearings for the project begin on June 17 and panel will come up with recommendations by the end of the year.