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Minister encourages improved pipeline PR

VANCOUVER - The federal natural resources minister is urging B.C. businesses to help "shoulder the burden" of improving public perception around controversial resource development, including pipelines.

Joe Oliver says business must not shrink from debate, but instead work with the federal government to demonstrate the economic benefits of their projects.

He told a Business Council of B.C. luncheon that task involves doing everything possible to ensure pipeline safety and environmental protection while also appealing to the public on an emotional level.

Oliver says a major obstacle for the government is the spread of incorrect information, noting one scientific study that dispels the notion that diluted bitumen going through a pipeline is more corrosive than crude oil.

The proposed construction of Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta to a northwestern B.C. port, and the expansion of a Kinder Morgan pipeline through Vancouver, has prompted mass public protests and condemnation from aboriginal groups.

They argue the environmental risks of a spill outweigh any economic benefits.

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