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When a joint review panel of the National Energy Board hands down its recommendation Thursday on whether the Northern Gateway oil pipeline is in the public interest, it will bring to a close a four-year, $500-million-plus regulatory process, paid for by proponent Enbridge Inc. and 10 oil companies supporting it.
The panel is expected to approve the project to move oil from Alberta to the British Columbia coast — with conditions — after 18 months of public hearings in Northern communities along the pipeline route and reviewing evidence from 221 interveners, 13 government participants and 1,100 oral statements. The three-member panel also grilled 63 Northern Gateway technical experts for 69 days.
As Enbridge president and CEO Al Monaco put it last month: “We are confident that we have done a very thorough job, based on our application and the process we have gone through, and yes we think we will get regulatory approval.”