For years, first nations have pointed to salmon and sea life to argue that a spill from the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline would damage wildlife important for both cultural and culinary reasons.
Now, environmental groups are warning of a threat to another animal: caribou.
The 1,172-kilometre pipeline, which would cut a narrow slice across the northern half of British Columbia, would clear trees from habitat important to caribou species already considered threatened, environmental groups argued this week before the National Energy Board, which is reviewing the proposed $6-billion Enbridge project.
Pipelines are buried in “right-of-ways” that are typically 25- to 30-metre-wide lines cleared across the landscape. For Gateway, the great majority of those right-of-ways lie alongside existing pipelines and forestry roads, or travel through areas of clear-cut forest.