TransCanada is trying to chain us to a dirty energy future. We aren’t letting them.
In 2013, Toronto350.org’s membership heard rumours that TransCanada wanted to build a pipeline bigger than Keystone XL across our country.
We knew the case against it. If we are to avoid catastrophic irreversible runaway climate change, we need to stop building new fossil fuel infrastructure. Even President Obama is poised to reject Keystone XL because of climate change. We cannot allow a project almost 50% bigger that would move over 1.1 million barrels of oil a day to be approved.
But back in 2013, Keystone XL looked likely to be approved. And worse, the National Energy Board (NEB) looked likely to approve Energy East too. The NEB had just approved the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline despite how 99+% of the people who spoke to the NEB opposed Northern Gateway. The odds were grim.
But in 2014, the tide started changing.
First, we joined the People’s Climate Intervention - an initiative by 350.org and environmental allies to have people demand that the National Energy Board to consider Energy East’s climate impacts.
We hit the streets and talked with people throughout Toronto. More than one person groaned as we talked with them, asking “you mean they want to build another pipeline?” People were even more shocked to learn climate change was no longer part of the Environmental Assessment.
Second, we interrupted our politicians as the waffled on Energy East. When party leaders Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair refused to come out against Energy East, we drew media attention. We interrupted Trudeau twice, once in Barrie and once at a reading of his autobiography, and we made images to call out Mulcair for speaking in favour of Energy East.
Third, TransCanada began losing the PR war. In November, a leaked strategy document showed TransCanada planned to buy a fake grassroots movement. TransCanada fired the company managing their PR a week later. Then, a wildly successful crowdfund raised $400,000 to stop Energy East in Quebec. And as the year ended, the oil price collapsed spectacularly, unravelling the prices that once ‘justified’ building Energy East. What’s more, polls now show a majority of Canadians oppose Energy East. There is clear frontline opposition to Energy East
So it is now 2015 and we are ready to take on the NEB.
As the NEB begins accepting applications by intervenors in February, we are organizing hundreds and thousands of people to apply to the NEB about Energy East’s climate impacts. You can come to one of our events, called application parties, or we can help you organize an application party yourself.
We expect to be rejected, but we will dramatize the illegitimate process. We will raise public awareness and force politicians to take sides.
Two years ago, we were afraid Keystone might pass. This year, we are excited to beat Energy East.
But we can only win if you act with us to protect our climate.