The federal government’s endorsement of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines project doesn’t mean shovels in the ground for the pipeline company.
In a conference call following the announcement, Enbridge President Al Monaco said this is just one more step.
“We don’t see the decision as the final step. Lets be clear about that. But it’s one more step in the process. It’s a process that, frankly, requires a considered and respectful approach and one that takes time to do right,” he said.
The tasks ahead are meeting the Joint Review Panel and the province of B.C.’s conditions, as well as “Continuing to engage with B.C. communities and Aboriginal bands to build further trust where we haven’t been able to do that to date.”
He said the process of meeting the JRP’s conditions for pre-construction will take at least a year if not more, and the company will be working with First Nations in that time, he said.
“Certainly re-engaging the First Nations is a big priority for us, and then working with B.C. to identify any remaining gaps that are there between the progress we’ve made, the conditions outlined by the JRP and the conditions the province of B.C. have outlined.”
For Kitimat specifically, they didn’t call out Kitimat’s opposition to the project following the plebiscite as a specific hurdle.
“We understand that definitely was the views of the voters of Kitimat at that time. I have to say that I think we learned an awful lot from the process and we have learned an awful lot from the citizens of Kitimat,” said Janet Holder, Vice President of Western Access for Northern Gateway.
Monaco added that what he saw from plebiscite process is people in Kitimat also beginning to speak in favour of the pipeline.