Northern Gateway in the spotlight

The Enbridge pipeline is proposed to run from near Edmonton to a Kitimat terminal. Oliver said he now wants Northern Gateway's hearings to be done by January 2013, a year ahead of schedule.

The pipeline is designed to export 525,000 barrels of crude oil per day as well as 193,000 barrels of condensate to Asian markets. A report by International Energy Agency in 2009 predicts China and India's demand will grow by more than 3.5 per cent a year, while the U.S.'s demand flatlines or declines.

A representative from Enbridge spoke at the Fort St. John & District Chamber of Commerce luncheon Tuesday. Marnie Yohemas says the community hearings will start in January of next year, and that over 4,000 people have already signed up to speak.

Enbridge estimates that during its operations, the Northern Gateway will generate $1.2 billion in provincial tax revenues over 30 years, as well as create 35,000 person-years of employment during its construction and over 500 long-term jobs. It's also estimated to generate $112 million in Northeast B.C. through regional goods and services, as well as $400 million in Central B.C. and $142 million in Northwest Alberta.

However, the project is not without its critism. At least fifty First Nations groups along its path are opposed to the plan, and it is already the next target of the same environmental group that derailed the Keystone project.

Yohemas is encouraging those in favour of the project to take the opportunity to speak up as well.Although the deadline to speak at the community hearings has passed, she says it's possible to make a late request. Residents can also have their voice heard by writing a letter of comment. The deadline to do so is March 13, 2012 and registration is done online at

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