Canadian panel approves Enbridge's tar sands pipeline to Pacific Coast. If the project goes ahead, it could have ramifications for the Keystone XL.

By John H. Cushman Jr.

WASHINGTON—An independent Canadian federal panel on Thursday approved Enbridge's proposal to build a new pipeline from the tar sands of Alberta to the British Columbia coast, a significant gain in the industry's long campaign to find export markets for the nation's abundant but carbon-heavy form of crude oil.

The panel set 209 conditions on the project as a way to overcome environmental and safety concerns. Even that, it said, would not guarantee that there would be no environmental harm.

But its central message was that the economic interest in building the line was paramount—"that Canadians will be better off with this project than without it."

"We are of the view that opening Pacific Basin markets is important to the Canadian economy and society," the panel declared. "Societal and economic benefits can be expected from the project.


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