Panel Readies Judgement on Pacific Coast Oil-Sands Pipeline

Aerial view of the Suncor oil sands extraction facility near the town of Fort McMurray in Alberta on October 23, 2009. Greenpeace are calling for an end to oil sands mining in the region due to their greenhouse gas emissions and have recently staged sit-ins which briefly halted production at several mines. At an estimated 175 billion barrels, Alberta's oil sands are the second largest oil reserve in the world behind Saudi Arabia, but they were neglected for years, except by local companies, because of high extraction costs. Since 2000, skyrocketing crude oil prices and improved extraction methods have made exploitation more  (National Journal)

A review panel will release its recommendation to the Canadian government on Thursday on whether construction of the Northern Gateway pipeline, which would transport oil from Alberta to the Pacific Coast should go forward, the AP reports.

The pipeline, which would be built by Enbridge, a Calgary-based energy distribution company, has met with opposition from environmentalists and residents of British Columbia.

The Canadian government, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, however, has long pushed for the pipeline's construction.

If the pipeline is built, it will mostly transport crude from Alberta's oil sands to energy-hungry China.

"This report will detail the panel's recommendation to the federal government on whether or not the project should be approved and the reasons for this recommendation," the Joint Review Panel said in a statement. "The report will also include terms and conditions that the applicant must implement if the project is approved."