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Hearings begin on Northern Gateway

Published by Steve Coleman on January 10, 2012

Hearings have started on the proposed $5.5-billion Northern Gateway Pipeline connecting the Alberta Oil Sands with the British Columbia coast.

Two days of hearings in Kitimat, B. C. will kick off the expected 18-month study period for the west-bound double pipeline.

More than 4,300 groups and individuals have signed up to speak at the hearings. Panel members will look at the potential impacts of the 1,177-kilometre long project. The decision will include a recommendation on whether or not the project meets federal environmental regulations and is in the Canadian public interest.

If it's approved, the project would carry Albert bitumen to the west coast where it would be put on China-bound supertankers in B.C. at a new port in the Douglas Channel. As many as 200 ships a year would carry crude to the US and Asia.

Critics have already blasted Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver for a letter he penned prior to the start of the hearings.

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