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760 apply to intervene in NEB hearings on Energy East, deadline to apply is March 3

The Council of Canadians encourages people to apply to participate in the National Energy Board (NEB) hearings on the Energy East pipeline before the deadline of Tuesday March 3. So far, the NEB says it has received 760 applications from people wishing to intervene in this process.

Council of Canadians chapters in Regina, Hamilton, Toronto (including the York University chapter), Guelph, Charlottetown, Fredericton and Saint John have organized application writing parties. The Thunder Bay chapter has been actively asking people to apply to the NEB process. The national organization will also be applying to intervene in the hearings. We are asking on speak on three areas: TransCanada’s record with respect to pipeline safety, the risk of diluted bitumen impacts on waterways, and the climate change pollution impacts of the pipeline.

In April 2014, the Globe and Mail reported, “NEB spokeswoman Sarah Kiley said the board typically has not looked at upstream impacts from pipeline projects. Federal legislation requires it to consider issues that are ‘directly related to the pipeline’, although the NEB has discretion to decide the scope.”

In May 2014, we challenged the exclusion of climate change from the NEB’s list of issues to be considered during the hearings. Our lawyer Jason MacLean says, “The NEB has previously claimed it has full jurisdiction to hear and determine al matters falling under the National Energy Board Act and that it can narrow the scope of its inquiry to what it considers relevant, provided that it does so in good faith. I don’t believe that deciding on the issues in advance of TransCanada’s actual application being filed is acting in good faith.”

And this past February, Council of Canadians organizer Aleah Loney, members of our Calgary chapter, and allies with 350.org, Leadnow.ca, Greenpeace and Avaaz delivered more than 100,000 messages from people across the country to the NEB office in Calgary demanding that climate change be included in their review of the Energy East pipeline.

In late January, Peter Watson, the chairman of the NEB, stated, “We’re anticipating we could be dealing with in the order of 1,000 active interveners on the Energy East application.” More than 1,500 people presented oral statements against the Northern Gateway pipeline to the National Energy Board. And more than 2,000 people and organizations applied to participate in the NEB hearings on the Trans Mountain pipeline, but with new federal rules, 468 people were rejected outright including 27 scientists and experts. NEB spokesperson Kiley says there are “more than 400 intervenors” in the hearings into the Trans Mountain pipeline.

In terms of next steps and timelines, the NEB website notes, “From the time that the Hearing Order is issued, the Board has up to 15 months to deliver its recommendation report to the government who then has another three months to review the recommendation and make the final decision.” If the hearings were to begin in May, for example, that means the NEB would have until July 2016 to deliver its recommendation to the federal cabinet and that the cabinet would then have until December 2016 to make its decision. If approved, construction on the pipeline would take place in 2017 and the company has said it wants Energy East operational by 2018.

To sign up to intervene against the Energy East pipeline at the NEB hearings, please click here. A step by step guide to complete the form can also be found on our website here. Once you’ve submitted your application, we also ask that you RSVP to let us know through this broader movement website.

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

Further reading
Council of Canadians seeks to appeal Energy East ruling (May 2014 media release)
Chapter activist Eric Doherty joins legal case against NEB over Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion (May 2014 blog by Leila Darwish)
Former BC Hydro CEO calls NEB “industry captured” (November 2014 Vancouver Observer article)
Canada’s pipeline review process broken but still important, critics say (February 2015 DeSmog blog)