CHN quizzes Enbridge officials in Prince Rupert

  • Feb. 13, 2013 9:00 a.m.

Haida Nation lawyer Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson quizzed Enbridge officials for much of the day last Thursday (Feb. 7) in Prince Rupert, as the Joint Review Panel continued its hearing process for the Northern Gateway pipeline. Ms Williams-Davidson went over a map of Haida territory, including marine areas, confirming with Enbridge representatives that most of the oil tanker traffic will go through Haida territory or adjacent to Haida territory. “Generally, our questions will be directed at the effects of hydrocarbons on the lands and waters of Haida territory, specifically Haida territory. Our focus will be on the ecological values with cultural importance to the Haida Nation,” Ms Williams-Davidson told the Joint Review Panel. “We will not be asking questions about the risks of an oil spill, as others have done that or will do that, but we will focus… on the consequences of an oil spill on Haida Gwaii.” Haida territory will be particularly impacted by the northern route through Dixon Entrance, she said. Enbridge officials said they expect that about 45 out of 50 very large tankers will use the northern route on their voyages between the marine terminal in Kitimat and markets in the Far East. Ms Williams-Davidson asked many questions about species that are culturally important to the Haida, including black seaweed, Dungeness crab, razor clams , abalone, herring spawn on kelp, herring and ancient murrelets. She quizzed the Enbridge officials about how much information has been collected about these species, and about exactly how they will be affected by an oil spill, and how long they might take to recover after an oil spill. She also turned the panel’s attention to the southern route, where tanker traffic will pass by Gwaii Haanas and the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Ninstints. The Northern Gateway hearings will continue in Prince Rupert from Feb. 18 to March 1 at Chances, with sittings scheduled every day except Sunday. The panel will then take a one-week break and return for more hearings.