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Winnipeg chapter says NEB review of Energy East “illegitimate” without climate considered

Mary Robinson (lower right) and members of the Winnipeg chapter.

Mary Robinson (lower right) and members of the Winnipeg chapter.

CTV reports, “Opposition is mounting in Winnipeg to an oil pipeline set to run through Manitoba.”

CBC notes, “Several groups in Manitoba are voicing opposition today to TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline… The Manitoba groups, which include the Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition, the Council of Canadians, Idle No More, Kairos, the University of Winnipeg Students Association and the Wilderness Committee, are urging the National Energy Board to consider the environmental and social effects of the proposed pipeline.” And the Winnipeg Sun adds, “Coalition members claimed TransCanada’s project proposal submission to the NEB only included greenhouse emissions from construction and day-to-day operations of the pipeline, ignoring the impact tar sands oil extraction has on climate change.”

That Sun article quotes Mary Robinson, chair of the Council of Canadians-Winnipeg chapter, who says, “Without considering climate change and listening to people’s voices, any review of the pipeline will be incomplete and illegitimate. This is not something that can be ignored.”

The NEB’s ‘List of Issues’ does not include the significant impacts the project will have on climate change emissions, the impacts of increased tar sands production on downstream First Nations or the fact that almost all of the crude shipped will be exported unrefined. Council of Canadians energy and climate justice campaigner Andrea Harden-Donahue has commented, “The NEB is acting in bad faith and demonstrating how biased it is in favour of the oil industry by tailoring the list of issues to be considered to the company’s advantage.”

The Winnipeg Sun article also highlights, “The groups also plan to lobby both the province and the city as such a pipeline would put all the rivers it crosses at risk, including the Red and Assiniboine, [No Energy East Manitoba spokesperson Alex] Paterson said.” Already, as CTV reports, “The City of Winnipeg will spend $1 million to hire experts to review the impact and oil spill could have on its water supply and landfill. The city is applying for intervener status at next year’s hearings at the NEB.”

A first step for the coalition will be to meet with Winnipeg city councillor Janice Lukes. She says, “[The study] will be to understand the proposed pipeline’s design, potential impacts and risk. Where this pipeline’s conversion is proposed is along Shoal Lake, along an aqueduct … and we as a city need to be very, very informed by experts to understand what the implications are.”

For more on the Council of Canadians campaign to stop the Energy East pipeline, please click here.