Will Northern Gateway promises endure, environmental groups ask expert panel

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PRINCE RUPERT, B.C. - The proponents of the Northern Gateway pipeline have made many commitments as they seek approval of their multibillion-dollar pipeline but there is no guarantee that those promises will endure, says a lawyer representing environmental groups.

Karen Campbell, who represents ForestEthics, Raincoast Conservation and Living Oceans, asked company experts whether promises such as a marine spill response and aboriginal land use studies will survive the 50-year life of the project to deliver oil from Alberta to a tanker port in Kitimat, B.C.

Northern Gateway president John Carruthers — one of a dozen experts answering questions under oath at federal review panels in Prince Rupert — says he expects those commitments to form part of the conditions of project approval.

Campbell is also questioning the science Northern Gateway has presented to the panel, including their own study that says the diluted bitumen that will flow through the pipeline will not sink if there's a tanker spill.

The review hearings have become a battle of duelling science on everything from diluted bitumen to the limits of oil spill containment in the wind and wave conditions of the north Pacific.

The review panel will resume later this month, and has until the end of the year to produce a report and recommendations to the federal government.

Organizations: B.C. Northern Gateway

Geographic location: PRINCE RUPERT, Alberta, Kitimat Pacific

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