VICTORIA, British Columbia, June 10 (UPI) -- A decision by the Canadian government to approve the planned Northern Gateway oil pipeline will be an insult to the aboriginal community, a tribal leader said.
Canadian company Enbridge Energy aims to build its Northern Gateway pipeline to the coast of British Columbia. The pipeline received conditional approval from the National Energy Board, the country's independent regulator, and a final decision is expected before the end of the month.
Members of the aboriginal community and some eastern provincial leaders have expressed concern about the potential environmental threats from a pipeline designed to carry the heavier grade of crude oil in Canada. Dubbed oil sands, it's viewed by critics as more toxic than conventional oil.
Stewart Phillip, the chief of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, said a decision in favor of the pipeline from the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper would undermine the relationship with the aboriginal community.
"First Nations have said no, and in the event that the government of Canada continues to attempt to ram this forward, we'll move into the courtrooms," he said Monday.
The Enbridge pipeline would send 525,000 barrels of oil per day to ports in British Columbia.
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said that, with nearly all of the Canadian oil exports now headed to the United States, building Northern Gateway was good for energy diversity.