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Winnipeg chapter and Indigenous activists to raise climate impacts of Energy East pipeline

No Energy EastThe Council of Canadians Winnipeg chapter will join with Indigenous and community activists to oppose the Energy East pipeline today.

The Canadian Press reports that chiefs from Manitoba, Saskatchewan and northwestern Ontario will meet with TransCanada executives in Winnipeg today. “The meeting is also expected to draw protests involving critics from an indigenous rights group outside the downtown Delta Winnipeg.”

No Energy East Manitoba – Energy Justice Coalition, a group of environmental and indigenous rights groups, scheduled a news conference at the University of Winnipeg this morning to challenge the [tar] sands industry and the federal regulator that must approve pipeline construction.” Coalition spokesperson Alex Paterson says, “We would have confidence in the NEB if they fully reviewed the climate impacts. [But] if they continue to do what they’re doing now, it will be a rubber stamp for the industry.”

In April, the National Energy Board announced it “does not have regulatory authority over upstream or downstream activities associated with the development of oil sands, or the end use of the oil to be transported by the project” and therefore would not consider climate change in its list of issues to be considered. The Energy East pipeline would generate an estimated 32 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year, the equivalent of about 7 million additional cars on our streets.

At 11 am CST, Winnipeg chapter activist Mary Robinson will join with No Energy East Manitoba at a media conference to “urge the National Energy Board to amend its review of the Energy East pipeline proposal to include the full scope of the climate and other environmental and human impacts of the project.” Other speakers at that media conference will include the co-founder of Idle No More Nina Wilson, the Manitoba campaign director for the Wilderness Committee Eric Reder, Idle No More Winnipeg organizer and Canadian Federation of Students-Manitoba representative Sadie Lavoie, and University of Winnipeg Students Association vice-president Peyton Veitch.

The Canadian Press article highlights, “The Energy East pipeline will cross nearly 160 First Nations and Métis communities, all of which will have to be consulted.” The Council of Canadians lists the First Nations that the pipeline would cross or pass nearby on our website here.

Yesterday, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow and energy and climate justice campaigner Andrea Harden-Donahue attended a gathering on Indigenous resistance to tar sands pipelines. Barlow tweeted, “At a summit at Kanehsatàke with many First Nations, Quebec, Canadian, and American activists fighting Energy East.” Kanehsatàke resident Ellen Gabriel, who helped convene the meeting, has stated, “In the absence of our free prior and informed consent, it would be illegal for the National Energy Board to grant TransCanada an application for Energy East.”

Last March, Harden-Donahue also participated via Skype in a meeting of about 70 First Nations leaders, including grand chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, in Winnipeg to plan a strategy to stop the Energy East pipeline project. The Council of Canadians supports Indigenous peoples’ right to free, prior and informed consent and Barlow has stated, “We recognize and respect First Nations’ decisions to ban tar sands pipelines from their territories.”

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