PM's pipeline announcements draw mixed reaction

The long battle to stop the Northern Gateway pipeline may have come to an end but another one continues to brew as far as Carrier Sekani Tribal Council chief Terry Teegee is concerned.

Teegee welcomed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's decision Tuesday to close the book on Enbridge's controversial project, but was disappointed in the decision to approve expansion ot Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline to the Lower Mainland.

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Like Northern Gateway, Teegee said the Trans Mountain project poses a threat to the Fraser.

"That's why we fought Enbridge to begin with," he said Tuesday.

He said the CSTC "will probably support" the southern and coastal First Nations in their fight.

As for the announcement on Northern Gateway, Teegee called it a formality.

"I think a lot of time and resources were wasted on this foregone conclusion that this project was a dead project," he said.

Perhaps bigger news for Teegee was Trudeau's confirmation of a moratorium on crude oil tanker shipping on B.C.'s north coast, acting on a promise made in the 2015 election campaign.

"How that will look, I don't know yet, the details haven't been stated," Teegee said. "But that's a good thing for the north coast and many First Nations."

Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty expressed disappointment in the decision to kill Northern Gateway and doubt that Trans Mountain will go ahead. Trudeau also gave the thumbs up to Enbridge's Line 3 replacement project from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin.

"It is a bittersweet day because while we've got two lines approved, we know one will never be operational because of the amount of opposition that there is there," the Opposition Conservative said from Washington, DC where he is meeting with U.S. officials over the ongoing softwood lumber conflict.

"But we also know that they have literally cut the legs off the Northern Gateway pipeline."

Doherty reiterated Enbridge's statement that 31 indigenous communities had signed on as equity partners and were posed to reap up to $2 billion in economic opportunity from the project.

"And not to mention all the other ancillary jobs and services that would bring within our region."

He said the rejection only adds the looming economic woes northern B.C. is facing.

"We don't have a softwood lumber agreement and we now don't have one of the largest projects that would've provided some economic stability in the face of the failure of getting a softwood lumber agreement," Doherty said.

"And not only that, they put a tanker moratorium in place which has profound potential impacts not just on the energy project that was going forward but on international shipping and I would think the Port of Prince Rupert would be very concerned with the moratorium that's been put in place."

Conversely, Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen said Trudeau's decision to nix the project and the supertanker port that would have come with it was not only the right choice, it was the only choice.

"Over 130 First Nations, the province of BC, and Canada's largest private sector union have all opposed this project," the NDP MP said in a statement. "It isn't a question of the environment against jobs - it's a question of right against wrong."

In a statement, Enbridge said it was pleased by the Line 3 approval and disappointed by the Northern Gateway rejection.

"This [Northern Gateway] was an important project to ensure Canada gets its resources to international markets, where Canadian producers can receive the best returns, benefiting our provincial and national economies," Enbridge said.

However, the company claimed it hasn't given up yet.

"Given today's decision, we'll need to assess our alternatives which we'll do in consultation with our partners, including our aboriginal equity partners."

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