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Halifax chapter supports STEEP Hfx protest of NEB closed-door meeting

Stop Energy East HFX protest this afternoon. Council of Canadians organizer Tori Ball holds banner (second from the right).

The Council of Canadians Halifax chapter and Stop the Energy East Pipeline – Halifax held a public forum outside the Halifax Central Library this afternoon to draw attention to the National Energy Board’s exclusionary and flawed review process. The Canadian Press reports, “About a dozen people staged a rally Monday in Halifax as the board met with groups during closed-door meetings to discuss the project. Members of Stop Energy East Halifax held signs and a makeshift pipeline with the words ‘tar sands=climate bomb’ in front of the Halifax Central Library.”

Halifax-based Council of Canadians organizers Angela Giles and Tori Ball were both at today’s protest.

Ball holds prop ‘climate bomb’ pipeline.

The media release for the protest had noted, “The Chair of the National Energy Board is in Halifax on Monday to begin his ‘National Outreach Initiative,’ but will not be holding open meetings about the Energy East Pipeline. If they did, they would hear how many Canadians want them to include climate change in their review of the project. We are holding our own public meeting and inviting the Chair, Peter Watson, to attend. We will be reaching out to passers-by, to inform them about the pipeline project, and will have banners and flyers on hand.”

Earlier today the Canadian Press reported, “A group plans to hold a rally today in Halifax to protest a National Energy Board closed-door meeting about the Energy East Pipeline. …Over the next week, National Energy Board officials will meet with groups in the four Atlantic provinces to discuss how it can improve its pipeline safety and environmental protection programs. …But the Stop Energy East Halifax says the meeting is invite-only and should be open to the public. Spokeswoman Evelien VanderKloet says other people affected by the project, including First Nations groups and property owners along the route of the Energy East Pipeline, should be included.”

Without providing details, the National Energy Board media release for this ‘consultation’ says, “Over the next seven days, the Chair, NEB Board Members and staff will hear from Canadians in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, and Prince Edward Island on how the NEB can improve its pipeline safety and environmental protection programs.” The Canadian Press article notes, “[National Energy Board] spokesman Tom Neufeld said organizing public meetings across the country is costly and time-consuming and the board wasn’t sure at the outset if there was enough public interest.” The article adds, “Neufeld also encouraged the public to provide feedback about the pipeline on the board’s website.”

The NEB now says it “might just have” public meetings.

The Council of Canadians is opposed to the Energy East pipeline. Halifax chapter activist Jerry MacKinlay highlighted in a recent letter to the editor published in the Chronicle-Herald, “In Canada, there is growing disenchantment in the public at large with the risks posed by pipeline projects such as these. All pipelines leak. Canadians living alongside the proposed pipeline route are being asked to assume the risks associated with transporting huge volumes of diluted bitumen through pipelines not designed for that product.”