Environmental FAQs

When factoring in the spill response equipment, personnel and training that you are committing to for the Confined Channel Assessment Area, is Kitimat still the less expensive option over Prince Rupert?

We have been committed to Kitimat as the port site since 2005. Enbridge looked carefully at using the ports of Kitimat and Prince Rupert, but ultimately decided to proceed with Kitimat due to the steep terrain and difficult engineering required to safely lay the pipeline along the Skeena River Valley from Terrace to Prince Rupert.

Isn’t there currently a tanker moratorium along the proposed marine route?

There is no federal ban on oil tankers from entering BC ports. Oil tankers enter today at the Port of Vancouver and at Kitimat as well. Both the federal and provincial governments, and their respective departments, have confirmed that tankers are currently able to enter BC waters and BC ports.

The North Coast has some of the most dangerous water conditions in the world. How can you guarantee the safety of Northern Gateway’s operations in these conditions?

Northern Gateway will ensure this project is designed and built to world class safety standards. Similar facilities operate safely off the coasts of Norway and Scotland in very similar geographical conditions. Oil ports have also operated safely on the east and west coasts of Canada for many years.

What effect would a tsunami have on the terminal and on oil tankers near the coast?

The potential of a tsunami is considered very minimal. The coastal islands protect the region from tsunamis originating west of these islands. There are no faults or identified sources of landslides in the immediate vicinity of the project that could generate a large tsunami. Additional engineering work will be done regarding the potential for locally generated wave events in the Kitimat Arm.

Remember the Exxon Valdez. What makes Northern Gateway any different?

The safety record of the shipping industry has improved dramatically since that tragic incident in large part due to the significant advances in technology along with international regulatory controls. We are confident that by putting in place world class marine safety protocols, we can move these vessels safely in and out of Kitimat, just as they have in the Port of Vancouver, the east coast of Canada, and elsewhere in the world.

With 20,000 annual Canadian tanker movements on both the east and west coasts, we believe that Canada has the regulatory system and pilot experience necessary to ensure safe movement in and out of Kitimat.

How can you ensure pipeline integrity in the case of a natural disaster, such as an avalanche?
Enbridge is committed to using the most modern technologies to ensure the pipeline is protected from the natural environment.

Enbridge is considering a number of measures to protect the pipeline where it crosses terrain exposed to avalanche and other slope hazards. These measures include tunnels, deep burial of the pipe, special pipe design and other protection measures. Enbridge does not anticipate there will be any stand alone avalanche sheds on the route.

Routing assessments for the project through the steep mountain valleys of the Kitimat and Clore Rivers have identified a number of areas exposed to a range of slope hazards including avalanches. Detailed engineering will include further assessments of these hazards and development of appropriate protection measures.

One example of measures planned to protect the pipeline from avalanches and other slope hazards are the tunnels in the Nimbus Mountain area connecting the Clore and Kitimat River Valleys. The tunnels were selected to provide a safe means to cross under steep mountain terrain subject to avalanche hazards.

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