The National Energy Board has announced that the Joint Review Panel has recommended to the federal government that it approve the Northern Gateway Project. The Panel felt that the project was in the best interest of the public. There are over 200 required conditions to be met in order for the project to proceed.

The Panel found that "opening Pacific Basin markets is important to the Canadian economy and society." The Panel also found that "the project would bring significant local, regional, and national economic and social benefits."
After weighing all of the oral and written evidence, the Panel found that Canada and Canadians would be better off with the Enbridge Northern Gateway project than without it. 

The decision, which has been highly opposed by First Nations and environmental groups, was not unexpected.  

"The decision was very disappointing, shortsighted and ignored the concerns of British Columbians", said Gwen Barlee, Policy Director with the Wilderness Committee. "The Enbridge pipeline is simply not a sustainable project: not from a climate change perspective nor from an environmental perspective. Enbridge isn't even sure if dilbut sinks or floats, and there are many unknowns regarding their ability to respond to an oil spill, even the BC government commented that NG has 'failed to show it would be able to respond effectively to a spill'.
"We know that an oil spill, whether land or marine-based, will happen if this project proceeds, and we know that a major spill would have a devastating environmental impact. We are nearly at the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez, and we saw what happened to that ecosystem and that community, and we don't want it to happen here - there is simply too much to lose," stated Barlee.
"We will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with First Nations and the hundreds of thousands of British Columbians who are opposed to this environmentally dangerous project."

Barlee also stated that she anticipates that this project will be tied up in the courts for many years to come for not properly accommodating and consulting First Nations.

Several opposing groups have formed including the Yinka Dene Alliance which has organized a "Hold the Wall" campaign of alliance between First Nations and the BC people. The Alliance stated:

"The fight against Enbridge is far from over. The Joint Review Panel’s recommendation is just that: a recommendation. There is still time for the federal government to come to its senses and recognize the decision taken by First Nations and citizens to oppose this dangerous project. Representatives of over 130 First Nations have supported the Indigenous law ban on Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project, and we will do everything in our lawful power to uphold it. Over 12,000 people have already pledged to stand with us in whatever way they can: with their voice, in the streets or on the land."

The Panel's recommendation report has been submitted to the Minister of Natural Resources and the Governor in Council will make the decision on whether or not the project should proceed. The Government has 180 days to respond to the Joint Review Panel's report and its Regulatory Recommendation. If the project is approved, the National Energy Board has seven days to issue its certificates of public convenience and necessity.

The British Columbia portion of the proposed pipeline route is about 660 kilometres in length and crosses about 850 watercourses. More than 90 per cent of the British Columbia portion of the route would be on provincial Crown lands. Much of the route in Alberta and British Columbia would cross lands currently and traditionally used by Aboriginal groups.

The total estimated capital cost of the project is $7.9 billion, which includes $500 million for associated marine infrastructure. Northern Gateway said that the project would be completed by late 2018.
The three major components of the project are:
  • one 914 millimetre (36 inch) outside diameter export pipeline that would carry an average of 83,400 cubic metres (525,000 barrels) per day of oil products west from Bruderheim to Kitimat;
  • a parallel import pipeline, 508 millimetres (20 inches) in outside diameter, that would carry an average of 30,700 cubic metres (193,000 barrels) of condensate per day east from Kitimat to the terminal at Bruderheim; and
  • a terminal at Kitimat with 2 tanker berths, 3 condensate storage tanks, and 16 oil storage tanks.

The Panel's conditions, which would be enforced by the National Energy Board, include requirements for Enbridge Northern Gateway to:

  • Develop a Marine Mammal Protection Plan;
  • Implement the TERMPOL Review Committee Recommendations; 
  • Prepare a Caribou Habitat Restoration Plan;
  • Develop a Training and Education Monitoring Plan;
  • Prepare an Enhanced Marine Spill Trajectory and Fate Modelling;
  • Develop a Research Program on the Behaviour and Cleanup of Heavy Oils;
  • Conduct Pre-operations Emergency Response Exercises and Develop an Emergency Preparedness and Response Exercise and Training Program. 
Monitoring and enforcement of compliance by the National Energy Board would be done during the lifespan of the project through audits, inspections, and other compliance and enforcement tools.