The $6 billion Northern Gateway oil pipeline planned by Canadian company Enbridge would move crude oil from tar sands projects in Alberta to ports in British Columbia for delivery to Asian markets.
An environmental review panel assessing the project's plans was said to be short of funds needed for a comprehensive analysis. Critics of the project have expressed concern about the environmental risk from any potential spill. A 2010 release of the same type of crude oil from an Enbridge pipeline in Michigan was the costliest onshore spill in U.S. history.
An official with the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that the agency was examining potential effects on maritime ecosystems.
"The department has provided its assessment and is of the view that the risk posed by the project to fish and fish habitat in the freshwater and marine environments can be managed by the proponent through appropriate mitigation and compensation measures," a spokesman told CBC News.
Canada's National Energy Board, in a letter to Enbridge, said it set a Dec. 31, 2013, deadline for the company to deliver a report on the pipeline to the national government.