Canadian government approves controversial oil pipeline to Pacific

Canada's government approves controversial pipeline connecting Alberta's tar sands to Asian markets

The Canadian government approved Tuesday the construction of a controversial pipeline that will connect Alberta's vast tar sands to the Pacific coast and growing Asian markets.  

The Northern Gateway pipeline will carry 525,000 barrels of oil products a day from Bruderheim, Alberta, to the Pacific coast at Kitimat, British Columbia, according to a decision issued by the National Energy Board.  

The government is requiring the project meet 209 environmental conditions, Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford said in a statement.

"The proponent clearly has more work to do in order to fulfill the public commitment it has made to engage with aboriginal groups and local communities along the route," he said in a statement.

Critics of the pipeline maintained their opposition.  

“This project is not going ahead,” Green Party Leader Elizabeth May told the Toronto Star. “It will be stopped by British Columbians.”

Environmental advocates and scientists have long protested the project. In May, more than 300 university professors signed a letter urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper to reject a panel report that approved the project, calling the report's rationale and science flawed.

The energy board acknowledged that the pipeline is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects to certain populations of woodland caribou and grizzly bear, though it noted those effects "are justified in the circumstances."

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