This was a huge week for pipelines news. We begin on the west coast of Canada with the Kinder Morgan hearings….
First up is Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr’s outrageous statement that reform to the National Energy Board cannot happen quickly because “You don’t rush your way into decisions that affect not only today, but generationally in Canada in the new world of sustainably moving resources to market.” Fair enough. Nothing outrageous about taking the time to do a proper systemic overhaul of the NEB. What makes this statement disgraceful is that in the meantime the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline review has been allowed to resume by Minister Carr and the federal government. Apparently pipelines are something that can be rushed. This despite their potentially catastrophic, multi-generational impacts on our natural environment. Nothing like “not rushing your way into decisions that affect not only today, but generationally in Canada,” eh, Minister Carr?
The Hearings for Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain proposal resumed on January 19 in Burnaby and will continue there until January 29, before moving on to Calgary for four more days of hearings.
The opposition both within and outside of the hearings has been massive. Outside of the hearings and across the nation, thousands have gathered in peaceful protest. Inside the hearings, the pipeline has been opposed by the Province of British Columbia, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, the City of Vancouver, Elizabeth May, the Squamish Nation and many, many others.
With so many against Kinder Morgan’s proposal, you may be wondering why it’s still even on the table as a possibility. This is just one more sign of the brokenness of the NEB system. All the more reason for you to sign Toronto350.org's petiton to STOP current pipeline applications and START reforms to the NEB. You can also call Minister Carr and tell hime the same thing!
And if you want to show Toronto solidarity with First Nations communities and all the people protesting the NEB hearings in Burnaby, please share and retweet Toronto350’s photo outside of Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett’s office, as we called on her to take a stand against the NEB process:
And if you’re still on the fence about Kinder Morgan yourself, check out ecojustice’s 4 reasons why the NEB should quash the pipeline
While all the urgent action is centred on Kinder Morgan, there’s been significant news this week closer to home on the TransCanada Energy East front.
The awesome news? Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre and 81 other Quebec mayors have officially said NO to Energy East! In an article in the Montreal Gazette, Coderre lays out exactly how Energy East “carries too many environmental risks for Greater Montreal.” See the full article, written by Mayor Coderre himself.
The not so great news? This prompted backlash from a whole cast of characters, both from expected EE supporters such as interim conservative leader Rona Ambrose, and more disappointing sources such as Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi, and famous ranter Rick Mercer--all of them mis-quote Coderre, fail to mention climate change, and rely on some pretty old-fashioned national unity rhetoric. Sure, Alberta's oil sector has provided transfers to Quebec and other provinces, but Canada also subsidizes the fossil fuel industry an average of $34 billion a year, according to the IMF. And, hmm, has anyone checked how the oil business is going for Alberta these days?
Of course, the mayors' announcement was also occasion for desperate lobbying on the part of Alberta Premier Rachel Notley who, after calling municipal concerns about clean water and climate change "short-sighted", rushed right over to Toronto for a closed meeting with Kathleen Wynne, who's been flip-flopping on requiring a climate test for Energy East since the days of Jim Prentice, despite a report by the Ontario Energy Board claiming that Energy East is all risk and little gain for Ontario, and faces much opposition from Ontarians.
Clearly it is time for our own Premier, to stand up against Energy East. And you can make your voice heard!
Call or Email Kathleen Wynne and let her know that Energy East does not have the support of Ontarians: email@example.com or (416) 325-1941.
Trudeau himself is playing his usual sunny role as referee, meeting with Coderre and re-affirming his intentions for NEB refor, yet in the same breath throwing in his infuriating line about commitment to "getting our resources to market", which has always seemed more like a commitment to making pipeline approval a foregone conclusion, which kind of flies in the face of true reforms. Trudeau, especially in the wake of COP21 in Paris and his promise to announce a federal climate plan in the next months, should be talking instead about a commitment to re-assessing energy infrastructure needs in the face of a changing climate and commitments to limiting global warming to no 1.5 degrees celsius.
Finally, for those Rona Ambroses out there who accuse Mayor Coderre of splitting the nation by destroying the economy in opposing Energy East, please see the following articles. They show that 1) Energy East will not be a generator of good, long-term jobs; and 2) Investment in clean, renewable energy will bring those stable, long-term jobs for Canadians:
Enbridge's Line 9, a 40 year old pipeline which was reversed in November to carry tarsands oil from Sarnia to Montreal despite much opposition, was shut down by activists for the fourth time on Monday. 3 land defenders arrested during the last shut down near Sarnia are scheduled to appear in court January 26th, on charges of mischief. The Chippewa of the Thames First Nation is taking it's challenge against the pipeline reversal, based on a failure to meet constitutional duty to consult to the Supreme Court. Stay tuned for details on how to support their legal battle!
Cheers from Toronto350!