Marine Transportation Component of Enbridge Northern Gateway Project Preapproved

While the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project Joint Review Panel continues its exercise in autoflagellation at the Community Hearings in Victoria, Vancouver and Kelowna, the fourth estate has tended to lose sight of the fact that the marine transportation component of the project has already been given the green light by virtue of last February's TERMPOL report, whereby five federal government departments basically signed off on this aspect of the project, saying there were no regulatory obstacles to its implementation. Thus, how realistic is it to expect the Joint Review Panel, whose three members collectively possess no known knowledge or experience of tankers or marine oil spills, to overrule the TERMPOL experts? What's more likely to happen is that the Panel continues its charade with the Community Hearings, Final Hearings and Final Arguments, before cloistering itself over the Summer to write its report, only to say that- you guessed it, the marine side of things was approved by TERMPOL, and far be it for the Panel to second guess those reviewers. So, the current review process is little more than a sham- window dressing, in effect. It gives the unwitting public the false sense that they have some say on the fate of this project. Not that they had much faith to begin with, after Stephen Harper assumed veto power over the Panel when he issued his Edict of Worms in 2012, totally destroying any credibility his government might have had with respect to environmental assessment in the process.

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