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Concerns over native burial grounds

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WHITECOURT, Alta. -- Regulators need to make sure the construction of Enbridge Inc.'s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline respects local landscapes, including native burial grounds, wildlife habitats and farmland, a review panel was told this week.

The three-member panel will set the scope of the hearings on the pipeline.

Enbridge seeks authorization to construct two 1,172-kilometre pipelines from Bruderheim, north of Edmonton, to a new marine terminal at Kitimat. One of the pipelines will carry petroleum products westward and the other condensate -- which thins petroleum products for pipeline transportation -- eastward.

Presenter Bob Walker runs a trapline that he said has been affected by oil and gas activity.

"We consider ourselves to be farmers out there, on the trapline. But we believe we're stewards of the land," he said. The Enbridge pipeline would run 10 kilometres through his trapline area.

"I don't want to stop progress," he said. "I just want them to be very aware of environmentally sensitive areas along it."

Walker told the panel he was also speaking on behalf of aboriginal friends who want to be sure the project respects native burial grounds.

One burial ground is within 90 metres of the pipeline route and during construction, he said, and in a metre or two of snow, those working on the pipeline could easily disturb the area.

Walker also expressed concerns the route is running in the same corridor that already houses two other pipelines. He said that proximity could be a big problem if something goes wrong in one of them.

Take Michigan, Walker said, referring to the recent spill there in the Kalamazoo River.

"What bad timing for Enbridge."

-- Postmedia News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 14, 2010 H3

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