Enbridge aims to build the Northern Gateway pipeline from tar sand projects in Alberta province to ports along the west coast. Some aboriginal communities and residents along the western Canadian coast have protested the pipeline.
Critics of tar sands projects such as Northern Gateway say the corrosive nature of that type of crude increases the likelihood pipelines would rupture.
Patrick Daniel, outgoing president and chief executive officer at Enbridge, told Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail the backlash over oil sands was somewhat unexpected.
"I don't know that you are ever ready for that kind of front-page exposure," he said. "We'd seen what the upstream had already gone through with opposition to the oil sands, so we weren't too surprised when a lot of people turned their attention to pipelines."
Pipeline company Plains Midstream Canada deployed containment boom and hundreds of workers to respond to a leak from its Rangeland pipeline system in Alberta province in mid June. That spill corresponded with recent similar incidents from Enbridge and Pace Energy Oil and Gas.
The Northern Gateway project gained momentum after the U.S. government delayed plans for the Keystone XL pipeline to transit Alberta crude to refineries along the southern U.S. coast.