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Canadians wary of Enbridge pipeline plans

March 13, 2012 at 6:28 AM

VICTORIA, British Columbia, March 13 (UPI) -- There's no amount of technological assurances that oil companies can give to allay concerns about the Canadian environment, a defense lawyer said.

The Canadian government backed plans by Enbridge to build its Northern Gateway pipeline to carry oil from tar sands projects in Alberta province to the coast of British Columbia. Opponents to the pipeline expressed concern over the environmental threats posed by Alberta crude.

Josh Paterson, a lawyer supporting the views of environmental groups and Canadian First Nations, said it was imperative that the regional sentiment be heard in the debate over Northern Gateway.

Most in the region, he said, say they fear Enbridge can't ensure the safety of its regional ambitions regardless of its best efforts.

"No matter what technological measures might be put in place, there is no way to eliminate the risk of a tanker oil spill and that scares everybody," he was quoted by the Calgary Herald as saying.

Gaetan Caron, chairman and chief executive officer at Canada's National Energy Board, told members of the Alberta Chamber of Resources last month that Canadian oil and natural gas supplies could reach record levels in the next quarter-century.

"With increasing activity in the energy sector, effective and comprehensive safety and environmental protection measures will continue to be a major component of Canada's pursuit of a sustainable energy future," he said.

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