British Columbia

Hundreds pack Enbridge hearing in Prince George

350 people crammed into the Ramada Hotel Wednesday night as interveners voiced concerns over the Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project

Protesters take to the streets in advance of the public hearing

More than 100 people marched in the bitter cold in Prince George, B.C., Wednesday night to protest the Enbridge public hearings on the Northern Gateway pipeline (Betsy Trumpener/CBC)

People from Prince George, B.C., and across the north, packed an Enbridge public hearing Wednesday night as interveners once again voiced their concerns over the Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project.

The project would pipe crude extracted from the Alberta oilsands across northern B.C. to tankers at Kitimat to be exported internationally.

Despite frigid temperatures, 100 protesters rallied outside the Ramada Hotel in Prince George, chanting their opposition to the proposed pipeline.

"We are not radicals. We are defenders of our land!" said Mary Teegee.

The protesters joined a crowd of more than 350 people in the hotel ballroom for the hearings. 

People filled every seat, sat on the floor and stood against the walls. Patty Peach was among them.

"The possibility of leaks are just too great. I heard a spokesman from Enbridge say the [possibility of a leak is a] tiny little percent. It's too much, it's too much.  It just breaks my heart to think [the project] might go through," said Peach.

Intervenors speak out against project

Intervenors from the B.C. Metis Nation and a Prince George engineering firm presented their concerns.

Gary Ducommon of the Metis Nation noted the pipeline would cross watersheds that feed the Arctic Ocean, Beaufort Sea, Skeena and Fraser rivers and Hudson's Bay.

Prince George engineering firm C.J. Peter Associates got a standing ovation, when it declared the Northern Gateway Pipeline would use too much energy for the oil it promises to produce.

Meanwhile, Enbridge spokesperson Paul Stanway watched quietly from the front row.

"We're just here to listen and take note of what people have to say," said Stanway. "We're not going to comment on anything what's presented."

The public hearings make their next stop in Edmonton, as part of an 18-month consultation process.

With files from the CBC's Betsy Trumpener