Nobel Women’s Initiative studies impact of Northern Gateway pipeline on women

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Nobel Women’s Initiative

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The Nobel Women’s Initiative has completed its tour of proposed route for the Northern Gateway Pipeline. The Ottawa-based group is an advocate of women’s rights, and consists of female Nobel Peace Laureates.

The trip was led by American political activist Jody Williams to examine the impact that the Northern Gateway pipeline will have on women. The delegation travelled from the oilsands in northern Alberta to the coast of British Columbia during a week-long trip that began October 9th.

Williams shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. At the start of the trip, she launched a week-long series of meetings along the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline route in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

The trip included a tour of Suncor’s oilsands operations near Fort McMurray, and one of the group’s early meetings was reportedly with Melissa Blake. She is the mayor of the Municipality of Wood Buffalo, which encompasses the booming oil-sands city.

The Vancouver Sun had reported that the executive director of Nobel Women’s Initiative, Liz Bernstein, fully expected to hear views in support of development during the tour, as well as those that oppose it: “It’s an important source of livelihood for a lot of people here. And I’m sure we’ll hear all kinds of perspectives. And so we’ll be listening to all of them before forming any of our recommendations at the end of our visit.”

The group decided to go on the tour because a number of community organizations along the Northern Pipeline route had reportedly voiced concerns that the impact to women wasn’t being discussed during the debate on whether to approve the pipeline.

The Nobel Women’s Initiative says it will present recommendations from its trip at a news conference to be held in Vancouver October 16th.

Environmental hearings on Enbridge’s proposed pipeline continue this week.

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