Canada's Northern Gateway Tar Sands Pipeline Decision Delayed Until 2013

The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline certainly wasn't the only planned pipeline capacity addition out there. But, as Desmogblog reports, a final decision on the Northern Gateway pipeline (running west, to the coast in British Columbia, and actually two pipelines) has now been delayed as well, with an environmental review now to be completed in fall 2013 and a final decision by the end of that year.

Widespread public outcry has been cited as the reason for the delay, as it will take another year to review public comment on the project, with community hearings planned to begin on January 10.

The delay is not a good sign for Enbridge or KinderMorgan, the two major tar sands pipeline interests hoping to enable the export of Alberta's climate-killing product overseas. As we learned last week, the oil industry will face a powerful adversary since BC's First Nations pledged, as a united front, to halt construction and prevent the proposed pipelines from crossing their territory.

Expanding export capacity is a key concern for the tar sands industry. Estimates show that existing pipeline capacity will be maxed out sometime between late 2013 and early 2016. Regarding Keystone XL's role in this, even if that project is completed, more pipeline capacity will be needed by 2018.

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