Council of Canadians to intervene in NEB review

The Council of Canadians has been accepted as an intervenor in the upcoming National Energy Board review of the proposed Energy East pipeline.

Our application proposed to tackle three areas – the impacts of diluted bitumen spills in waterways, pipeline safety concerns and climate pollution impacts. We also proposed hiring water expert Dr. David Schindler and Evan Vokes, who was previously a pipeline engineer with TransCanada (the company behind the pipeline proposal), to review the application and help us present information to the Board.

Our application highlighted that we intend to present "evidence regarding the cumulative upstream climate pollution impacts of the proposed pipeline, including the 'upstream activities associated with the development of oil sands, or the downstream and end use of the oil transported by the Project.' This evidence will include an analysis conducted by qualified climate change scientists at Lakehead University of the Project's contribution to greenhouse gas emissions in relation to existing and other proposed oil pipeline project proposals falling under the Board's jurisdiction."

While the Trudeau government has agreed to include upstream emissions in its pipeline review, it has not specified inclusion of the much larger downstream emissions.

Just last week CBC reported, "More than 2,600 people applied to be intervenors or commenters in the sessions that will be led by three NEB panelists and attended by representatives from TransCanada. ...Full participants, or intervenors, will be able to ask questions of TransCanada, and whatever evidence those intervenors present will also be subject to examination."

Council of Canadians chapters in Regina, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Toronto (including the York University chapter), Guelph, Charlottetown, Fredericton and Saint John organized application writing parties. The Thunder Bay chapter also actively asked their members to apply. We also reached out to the landowners and people who would be directly affected (according the NEB’s strict definition) by the pipeline to ensure they are aware of the NEB process.

We are still analyzing the list of those who were accepted (and to determine those who may not have been accepted).

A government media release today notes, "After conducting a thorough examination, the Hearing Panel granted intervenor status to 337 applicants and commenter status to 271 applicants. Those not granted participation rights in the hearing process will be able to provide input in the review through expanded public engagement activities to be carried out by additional Board Members. A total of 2,652 applications to participate in the Energy East and Eastern Mainline hearing were received by the NEB. Of those, over 100 were duplicates and approximately 1,450 were submissions of a form letter about climate change and upstream greenhouse gas emissions, which will be the topic of an assessment conducted by Environment and Climate Change Canada."

The NEB will hold its panel sessions in:

  • Saint John - August 8-12
  • Fredericton - August 15-19
  • Montreal - August 29-September 2
  • Quebec City - October 3-7
  • Regina - October 12-14
  • Winnipeg - October 25-28
  • North Bay - November 1-4
  • Calgary - November 7-10
  • Thunder Bay - November 28-December 2
  • Kingston - December 12-16

In addition, CTV has previously reported, "During the review periods, officials will visit hundreds of communities along the 4,500 km route so the NEB can gather all the information they can."

The NEB will make its recommendation to the federal Cabinet in March 2018 and the prime minister will then have six months (so by September 2018) to make his decision on the pipeline.

For more on our campaign to stop the Energy East pipeline, please click here.