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UPDATE: Council of Canadians undaunted by paperwork in Line 9 campaign

Both the Council of Canadians national organization and the Council of Canadians Hamilton chapter have submitted requests to the National Energy Board to voice concerns about the Line 9B pipeline reversal. The proposal is for the existing 37 year old pipeline to carry diluted Alberta tar sands bitumen through nearly 100 communities in southern Ontario and into Quebec.Today, the Globe and Mail reports, “Fewer than 200 interested parties have completed a 10-page application form asking the National Energy Board to accept their written comments about the reversal of a pipeline that would carry diluted Alberta oil sands bitumen across Southern Ontario and into Quebec. That compares to the more than 9,000 letters that were written during the approvals process for the Northern Gateway pipeline… Graham White, a spokesman for Enbridge, said the relatively small number of applications could be an indication that the project has more support than some critics would indicate.” “But environmentalists say the relatively small number of applications related to Enbridge Inc.’s Line 9B does not suggest disinterest on the part of the public… Rather, they say, it is a reflection of the complexity of the process, which required anyone who wanted to voice an opinion to find the form on the National Energy Board (NEB) website, complete it, then send copies to both the board and Enbridge within a two-week window that closed on April 19. …The applications, which are being used by the NEB for the first time, are meant to restrict comments to those people who will be ‘directly affected or have relevant information or expertise’. They were introduced after the federal Conservative government streamlined the process, complaining that the Northern Gateway approvals had been hijacked by radical environmentalists.” “Peter Julian, the natural resources critic for the federal New Democrats who also filled out an application, said the process is a ‘sad commentary’ on the current state of public consultation. ‘I don’t know how citizens can actually be involved in the process at all, even the people in communities that are impacted’, said Mr. Julian, ‘when it takes several days to pull everything together and mail it out, and serve Enbridge and do all of the things that the NEB is requiring because of the changes that the Harper government has brought in.'” The article adds, “The NEB says it is now processing the 177 applications that were submitted by First Nations, community groups, municipalities, environmental organizations and private individuals and will decide within the next few weeks who will be permitted to write a letter.” The article also highlights that Sarah Harmer submitted the paperwork to speak against Line 9. Other applicants include Hamilton, Burlington, Toronto, Mississauga, Toronto Region Conservation Authority, Environmental Defence, and Sierra Club. The hearings are scheduled for late-August. For more, please read: NEWS: Council of Canadians applies for NEB intervenor status on Line 9 pipeline UPDATE: Sarah Harmer opposes Line 9 pipeline VIEW: Laxer opposes west-to-east pipeline proposals