Canada's national pipeline enforcement agency has dealt another blow to energy giant Enbridge Inc. in the wake of a recent court decision that quashed the permits for a major new oil pipeline linking Alberta to the northern British Columbia coast.
In a statement issued late on Friday afternoon, the National Energy Board said it was suspending a review of a request from Alberta-based Enbridge to give it more time to meet 209 conditions required for it to build its proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.
Enbridge was unable to meet its deadlines requiring it to deliver on all of these conditions in order for it to begin construction in 2016 and had asked for a three-year extension so that it could proceed at a later date.
But after the Federal Court of Appeal quashed the permits for the project in a stunning ruling issued on June 23, the NEB decided to suspend its review of the request for an extension.
Northern Gateway has generated fierce opposition from environmental groups, First Nations and local politicians along its route. Enbridge has said it still hopes to build the project along with its First Nations and Métis partners, explaining that it would still generate important economic benefits for Canada's oil and gas industry.
The federal Liberal government has been lukewarm to the project because of its potential environmental impacts of a spill on land or off the coast of British Columbia. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he believes the project route through B.C.'s Great Bear Rainforest is no place for a pipeline.