Citizens and environmental organizations denounce illegitimate pipeline hearings that aim to rubber stamp dirty oil pipelines and that ignore the reality of climate change
Montréal, October 9th, 2013: Climate Justice Montreal, the Coalition Vigilance Oléoduc, the Association Québécoise de Lutte contre la Pollution Atmosphérique (AQLPA), Greenpeace, the Council of Canadians, Alternatives, Équiterre, Idle No More Quebec, Sierra Club Quebec are assembled before the Palais des Congrès to denounce the democratic deficit of the National Energy Board (NEB) hearings as well as their exceedingly narrow mandate.
The NEB, an anti-democratic process
Until now, all Canadians could express themselves to the National Energy Board about Important pipeline decisions that affect us all. In July 2012, important changes were made to the National Energy Board Act via the federal omnibus Bill C-38 that dismantled important environmental protections. The addition of section 55.2 stipulates that the Board will hear only from those whom they consider 'directly affected' or those whom the Board deems experts.
According to Kristian Gareau from Climate Justice Montreal: "For a project that will bring 300,000 barrels of tar sands oil a day through Quebec, it is alarming that the feds would seek to restrict public input, and that the province would let them." This summer, a lawsuit was launched against the federal government by Forest Ethics Advocacy to contest the amendments to the NEB Act. "These new federal rules undermine the democratic rights of everyday Canadians to have their say on proposed petroleum projects," said Audrey Yank, spokesperson of Coalition Vigilance Oléoduc.
The NEB Mandate is too narrow
The organizations and citizen groups have also criticized the NEB for not sufficiently considering the upstream and downstream impacts of the pipeline and for not evaluating alternatives to the project. According to Patrick Bonin of Greenpeace, "The Enbridge project is at high risk for spills, it feeds the expansion of the tar sands and the refining of Albertan heavy crude, as well as increasing the transport of petroleum by boat from Montréal and Lévis. With the blinders imposed by Harper, the NEB sees only the pipeline."
Given that climate change is, and will increasingly be, a serious issue, Alain Brunel, director of energy and climate with AQLPA said, "The reversal of Enbridge's Line 9B will bring heavy crude and bitumen to Quebec, which will increase greenhouse gas emissions by 14 to 20%, all the while increasing GHG emissions and air pollution via Suncor's refinery. It will be impossible to achieve the Quebec GHG reduction targets of 25% by 2020. We must reject these projects that accelerate the climate crisis."
Quebec Government asked to get involved
The organizations demand once again for the Quebec government to intervene in the Enbridge pipeline project and study the multiple social and environmental issues and impacts that as a whole, and not merely in a piecemeal way as has been the case up until now.
The picnic-protest organized on Place Jean-Paul Riopelle in response to the NEB hearings was organized by the group Climate Justice Montreal and Coalition Vigilance Oléoduc. These groups will organize in the evening at 7pm, at the same Place Jean-Paul-Riopelle before the Palais des Congrès, #DirectlyAffected, a public screening of photos submitted by citizens to show how they are impacted by tar sands and pipelines. Recognizing that Indigenous and front line communities are much more severely impacted by resource extraction and transportation, #DirectlyAffected reexamines the National Energy Board's new regulations on who can participate in hearings.
Kristian Gareau (Climate Justice Montréal): 514-991-6923
Audrey Yank (Coalition Vigilance Oléoduc): 438-884-6471
Roger Rashi (Alternatives): 514-248-6737
Alain Brunel (AQLPA): 514-835-3402
Abdul Pirani (Conseil des Canadiens): 450-370-6543
Geneviève Puskas (Équiterre): 514-792-5222
Patrick Bonin (Greenpeace): 514-594-1221
Melissa Mollen-Dupuis (Idle no More Québec): 450-616-7163
Floris Ensink (Sierra Club Québec): 450-370-6543