Wednesday, 5 March 2014

National Energy Board Decision on Line 9

It has been announced that the National Energy Board (NEB) decision on Line 9 will be released late Thursday afternoon (March 6, 2014). In response, the Hamilton 350 Committee has called a rally for noon Friday, anticipating that approval will be granted to Enbridge’s controversial plan to expand the flows in the Sarnia to Montreal pipeline and include bitumen in the products being shipped through it.
It’s already clear that the NEB decision won’t address many of our most significant concerns including the effects on climate change of increasing both the extraction and transport of fossil fuels, and the economic impacts on manufacturing of additional oil exports.
In the Line 9 review and hearings, the NEB categorically refused to even consider “the environmental and socio-economic effects associated with upstream activities, the development of oil [tar] sands, or the downstream use of the oil transported by the pipeline.”
So the climatic effects of the expansion of flows in Line 9 have not been considered by the NEB. The climatic and other environmental impacts of expansion of the Alberta tar sands to supply the bitumen being sent through Line 9 have also not been examined.
And while the current federal government claims to be focused on the economy, not even the economic impacts of exporting more oil were examined. The increasing reliance of Canada on the export of fossil fuels has already done great damage to manufacturing, especially in Ontario and Quebec, by driving up the exchange rate of Canadian currency and making export of manufactured goods less competitive.
It is clear that we must wean our society off fossil fuels. The minimum first step is stop making things worse. When you find yourself in a hole, the first rule is to stop digging. Therefore, at minimum, no increase in the extraction or transportation of fossil fuels should be contemplated.
The science is beyond doubt. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has confirmed that human burning of fossil fuels is the main cause of global climate change. Great harm has already resulted and even the best case scenarios promise much greater damage ahead. We are very likely seeing some of that harm here in Hamilton in the form of extreme events such as torrential rain, ice storms, flooding and other increasingly unusual and disruptive weather.
The NEB is incapable or unwilling to deal with these key issues. In addition, its requirement that individuals and organizations apply in writing to even hope to obtain permission to submit written reviews is clearly undemocratic.
The transparency of this so-called regulatory agency must also be questioned after it quietly approved expanded flow in an Enbridge pipeline parallel to Line 9 without even requiring notification of the affected First Nations or municipalities including Hamilton, or the individuals across whose private lands the pipeline runs.
Join us on Friday, March 7, 2014, at 12-noon at Hamilton City Hall for a Line 9 rally.
Hamilton 350 Blog

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