Communities take on the NEB with Energy East proceedings in progress


Cultural leaders are standing up for the rights of their communities as legal battles ensue against Energy East this week. Francophone protection groups are arguing in court today that Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) failed to offer a complete translation of all Energy East related information prior to the public hearings concerning the project. Earlier this week, Ontario’s First Nations demanded that federal Natural Resource Minister halt the pipeline review process, accusing the NEB board of failing to consult with their communities, and of being “inaccessible and unwilling to share information with them.” Energy East is expected to transport 1.1 billion barrels of crude from Alberta’s tar sands through communities and waterways in Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec.


Key Points

  • The NEB risks losing complete credibility if they continue turning a blind eye to the concerns of the people it is supposed to protect. So far, the NEB has moved forward with hearings despite being accused of failing to conduct a thorough analysis of the pipeline impacts, as well as neglecting impacted communities living along its route. As a federal regulatory body, too many critical oversights could lead people across the country and the international community to perceive the NEB as part of a broken, irrelevant system.
  • Implications of this pipeline to the people and environment are far too devastating. This pipeline — the largest to ever be built in North America — cuts through communities living in the most populated regions in the country as the proposed route navigates through many major cities. Energy East also risks generating up to 32 million tonnes of additional greenhouse gas emissions each year in Canada.
  • Marginalized communities are stepping up and using their rights to defend Canadian society at large. First Nations leaders and French language protection groups are pursuing legal actions against big oil and the Canadian government by holding them accountable to legal measures already in place meant to protect their community interests. By taking on this battle, they are also working to protect the wider community and the environment from the impacts of this pipeline.



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Key Quotes

  • “Most owners located on the Energy East route in Quebec do not speak enough English to understand the documents available on the NEB website” – Karine Péloffy, Quebec Environmental Law Centre
  • “[First Nations] are not being adequately consulted” – Bob Chiarelli, Ontario Energy Minister
  • “The [NEB] has declined multiple requests for Chiefs of Ontario for in person information sessions on the proposed project and the approvals process for First Nations in Ontario. In lieu of in person meetings, the National Energy Board has organized online overview sessions, which are unavailable to First Nations that lack sufficient internet connectivity” – Stan Beardy, Ontario Regional Chief

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