Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May claims leaked documents show taxpayers are subsidizing the bid to build the proposed $6-billion Northern Gateway oil pipeline with about $120 million in government studies.
While Ottawa is cutting major science research projects across Canada, May says the documents reveal the federal government has embarked on at least two major initiatives that are "greasing the wheels" for Enbridge (TSX:ENB), the Calgary-based firm proposing the pipeline.
May says the Harper government is spending at least $78 million on marine spill studies specifically connected to bitumen, the molasses-like crude that will be shipped in the pipeline between Alberta and B.C.
She also says the documents reveal Ottawa is spending $42 million to study ways to improve weather forecasting in the coastal regions that will be used by oil tankers if the project is approved by the federal Joint Review Panel.
One of the conditions set out by the B.C. government for its approval of the pipeline was that oil spill response, prevention and recovery on the west coast needed to be world-class.
The federal government could not immediately be reached for a response to the documents, dated May 2012.