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10th January 2012. Canada is embarking on an interesting conversation about the value of environment

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Today was the first day of public hearings into the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline planned to transport tar sands product to the Pacific and thence to Asian markets.  Over the next two years, the three-person federal review panel assessing the $6.6 Billion proposed Enbridge Inc. pipeline, will travel to numerous communities and listen to thousands of people who have requested time to speak.  Somewhere along the way, I hope this review will begin the task of evaluating the costs as well as the benefits of tar sands oil, and compare these with the benefits and costs of preserving quality natural environments.  Given the very strong push by government to have this and the Keystone XL pipeline approved, it will be interesting to see how the evaluation process unfolds.