Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Poll finds 80 percent of British Columbians oppose Enbridge pipeline

VANCOUVER, B.C. - Enbridge should be looking at opinion polls and events in the United States instead of filing for federal approval to build a $5.5 billion pipeline from Alberta to a marine export terminal at Kitimat, says one opponent of the project.
Nikki Skuce of the environmental group ForestEthics says all Enbridge will do is spend millions of dollars and years of time promoting its Northern Gateway plan when people don’t want it.
“We’re clearly disappointed they’re ignoring the majority of the people of B.C. and First Nations,” said Skuce.
Her comments are based on a May opinion poll conducted for ForestEthics indicating that 80 percent of British Columbians don’t want oil tankers coming into and out of north coast waters.
Skuce is not convinced the pipeline review, to be conducted by a three-person panel through the federal National Energy Board, will be unbiased enough to produce a suitable document.
“Who pays for the National Energy Board? The proponent, the industry,” said Skuce. Skuce also questions the need for any kind of review given that various First Nations have conducted their own assessment of the project and have judged it unwanted.
The Dogwood Initiative, a Victoria-based public interest group which shared the cost of the opinion poll, said “We cannot imagine a scenario where Enbridge, or any proponent, is able to overcome the political forces organized against a new West Coast pipeline. And we consider ourselves a fairly imaginative group of people,” said Eric Swanson.
The poll results were part of a Mustel Group omnibus random telephone survey of 500 British Columbians in May 2010. Results on a sample size of 500 are considered accurate to within +/- 4.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Here is the first question: “Since 1972, the Canadian federal government has banned oil tankers from transporting crude oil through B.C.’s inside passage to protect the coast from oil spills. Now, Ottawa is considering allowing oil tankers to transport crude oil through our coastal waters. In your opinion, should we ban or allow oil tanker traffic in B.C.’s inside coastal waters?”
Of those who responded, 15.4 per cent would allow traffic, 80 per cent would ban it, four per cent did not know and 0.6 per cent refused to answer.
The second question was: “Based on what you currently know, would you say you support or oppose Enbridge’s proposal to build an oil pipeline from the tar sands and bring oil tanker traffic to B.C.’s North Coast? Would that be strongly or somewhat?”
Responses were 8.1 per cent who would strongly support it, 25.6 per cent who would somewhat support it, 19.3 per cent who were somewhat opposed, 31.7 who were strongly opposed, with 13.5 per cent who don’t know and 1.8 per cent who refused to answer.

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