NEB ignores 100,000 Canadians, rams forward with applications to Energy East hearings

Intro

Canada’s National Energy Board is encouraging stakeholders in the Energy East pipeline approval process to apply for status to participate in hearings starting today, ignoring a nationwide call for a paced, thorough analysis of the pipeline’s impacts. This announcement came within hours of a petition delivery to the NEB, signed by more than 100,000 Canadians demanding that climate change be considered in the project’s review process. Reports reveal that this pipeline risks generating up to 32 million tonnes of additional greenhouse gas emissions each year in Canada. The prospective pipeline — the largest to ever be built in North America– would transport 1.1 billion barrels of crude from Alberta’s tar sands through Canadian communities and waterways. The NEB will be accepting applications to participate in these hearings — from citizens and industry alike — from February 3 through March 3, 2015.

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MT @cc_nb 30 days for ppl in #NB to tell #NEB what they think of #energyeast! Stand up for our #whales and #water! http://wp.me/p3kbxg-1eb

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Key Points

  • There is no added value in moving forward with Energy East when many questions are unanswered. Over 100,000 people signed a petition delivered to the NEB yesterday demanding that it undertake a thorough scientific analysis of Energy East’s impacts before moving any further. Meanwhile, TransCanada has yet to complete their application for this project — which still requires critical amendments, such as plans to set up a tanker terminal in Cacouna, Quebec, which both Quebec and Ontario premiers deemed “unacceptable” due to the risky impacts to belugas bred in the Saint Lawrence river.
  • 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.
  • Change can happen if people are willing to seize the moment. Energy East stakeholders risk drowning out concerned voices if the hearings are unbalanced. While the NEB may be targeting them in in their outreach strategy, for anyone wishing to participate in the hearings process, the application for status to participate is open to all those directly affected and/or can offer relevant expertise, and will go on through

Background

The Energy East pipeline is a proposed tar sands pipeline in Canada, that if built, would deliver oil from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries and port terminals in Quebec and New Brunswick. The project is a proposal of oil giant TransCanada and aims to convert 3,000 kilometres of existing natural gas pipeline which currently carries natural gas from Alberta to the Ontario-Quebec border, to oil an oil pipeline. For this conversion to take place, a new pipeline, pump stations and tank facilities would new also be constructed. In all, the project is estimated to cost $12 billion (USD) and would be the longest in North America if completed.

The Energy East project is opposed by Canadians for a number of reasons. One concern is the environmental impact of the project. The Pembina Institute released a report in 2014 urging Canada’s National Energy Board consider the impact on carbon emissions. This position is supported by the Governments of Ontario and Quebec, who want the project’s impact of the project on greenhouses gases examined as part of the National Energy Board review process. Another controversial aspect is a new supertanker complex at the eastern end of the pipeline near Quebec city. The Quebec Superior Court halted exploratory work on the pipeline for a month after finding that the Quebec environment ministry had not considered the impact of the project on beluga whales in the area. A public opinion poll held in Quebec found only one-third of Quebecers supported the pipeline.