Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Enbridge Alberta Clipper permit sparks criticism in Canada and U.S.

FORT McMURRAY, Alta. - The U.S. presidential permit granted Aug. 20 for Enbridge's controversial Alberta Clipper pipeline has launched environmental protests on both sides of the border, with opponents vowing a legal challenge.
According to a coalition of environmental and Native American groups, the decision goes against U.S. President Barack Obama's promise to cut global warming pollution and America’s addition to oil while investing in clean energy.
The groups - Earthjustice and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy as well as the Canadian and American offices of the Sierra Club and the Indigenous Environmental Network - have vowed to challenge the decision in court.
In addition, the indigenous network based in Minnesota is looking into the validity of the permit, as it wasn't signed by Hillary Clinton, U.S. secretary of state, as required. Marty Cobenais of the network said it was signed by the deputy assistant director instead, and he wants to check its validity. Cobenais says the coalition, especially the Leech Lake Band, which stands to be the most affected by the pipeline, is in for a David and Goliath fight with a multibillion-dollar industry and the American government.
“This fight isn't even just about the pipeline. We're fighting this fight down here … because we're against the expansion of the (Alberta) tar sands also,” said Cobenais.
The $3.6-billion Alberta Clipper pipeline will carry oil sands product from Hardisty, Alta. It will extend 525 kilometers from the U.S.-Canadian border near Neche, N.D., across northern Minnesota to an Enbridge terminal in Superior, Wis. The project also includes associated pumping and terminal stations. Scheduled to be up and running in 2010, the pipeline will have an initial capacity of 450,000 b/d of heavy bituminous syncrude. A second 51-centimeter parallel pipeline, Southern Lights, will extend 307 kilometers from Superior to an Enbridge terminal in Clearbrook, Minn.

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