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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Sep 7, 2012 1:57 PM Flag

    B.C. questions shut down at Gateway pipeline hearing

    B.C. questions shut down at Gateway pipeline hearing

    CBC News
    Posted: Sep 7, 2012 8:15 AM MT
    Last Updated: Sep 7, 2012 11:37 AM MT

    Related Stories
    Special Report - Northern Gateway Pipeline

    The B. C. government's cross-examination of Enbridge at the Northern Gateway Pipeline review got off to a rough start in Edmonton yesterday when the province's lawyer got shut down moments into her questioning.

    On Thursday, lawyer Elisabeth Graff was asking Northern Gateway president John Carruthers about the insurance for oil spill disasters when panel chair Sheila Leggett intervened.

    Leggett reminded Graff that the Edmonton hearings are to focus on the economic impacts of the project and that disaster preparedness is being dealt with at upcoming hearings in B.C.

    Graff said there had been consultation with Enbridge on the topics to be covered and that any overlap with other hearings would be minimal.

    But Leggett said that wasn't good enough and shut her down.

    "I'm wondering if it would maybe be appropriate for us to close for today," said Leggett.

    Former AG gets late start

    The rebuff came just hours after Premier Christy Clark announced former attorney general Geoff Plant was flying out to Edmonton to take charge of what she called B.C.'s legal "A team."

    Plant outlined his strategy for the hearings as he boarded a plane for Alberta.

    "The question [is] whether Enbridge is actually capable of getting the kind of insurance to ensure against the risk of liability," said Plant.

    But back in B.C., NDP Environment Critic Rob Fleming said he is concerned the government isn't prepared for the final hearings of the federal review panel, which began on Tuesday without Plant.

    "For Premier Christy Clark, who's trying to assure British Columbians that she has a handle on this file, this is more evidence that in fact she doesn't," said Fleming.

    But Environment Minister Terry Lake maintains nothing unusual happened at yesterday's hearing and the panel adjourned because it was short on time and will hear all of B.C.'s questions.

    Graff is expected to resume her questioning today and focus on the corporate structure of the project.

    Final hearings underway

    According to the schedule issued by the review panel, the final hearings underway in Edmonton are focusing on the economic, financial and tolling issues linked to the project.

    The final hearings move to Prince George in October, where they will focus on environmental and socio-economic effects, impacts on landowners and land use, routing, design and construction, and operation safety.

    In November, the hearings in Prince Rupert will deal with aboriginal rights and interests, environmental and socio-economic effects from the marine terminal and shipping, marine safety and accident response, and public and community consultation.

    Final arguments will be presented to the panel next spring, which must make a recommendation by the end of 2013. Ottawa is expected to make a decision within six months of the panel's review.

    Controversial plans

    Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. wants to...

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