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Enbridge Pipeline Faces ’Uphill Battle’ in British Columbia

Enbridge Inc. faces an “uphill battle” getting regulatory approval from the federal government for its Northern Gateway pipeline in British Columbia, said the province’s environment minister.

“The federal government really isn’t interested in forcing something down the throat of a province that has legitimate objections to it,” British Columbia Environment Minister Terry Lake said in an interview today.

Calgary-based Enbridge has proposed the C$6 billion ($5.8 billion) Northern Gateway pipeline to carry oil-sands crude from Alberta to Canada’s Pacific Coast. The government of British Columbia, environmental and some aboriginal groups oppose the 1,177-kilometer (731-mile) project because of the risk of spills on land and in the ocean.

Enbridge has “come up short” in providing details on protecting land and the marine environment from heavy oil spills, said Lake. The province could halt the pipeline, if it’s approved by federal regulators, through more than 60 permits required from provincial authorities, the minister said.

“It wouldn’t be an easy path,” Lake said. “This company has not been very successful in bringing First Nations communities and other parties alongside with them.”

Canada’s National Energy Board regulator has until the end of the year to make a recommendation on Gateway.

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