Toronto – More than sixty groups across Canada are asking the National Energy Board (NEB) to close TransCanada’s Energy East application and keep it closed until the broken federal regulatory process is fixed.
Groups, including environmental, civic, arts, justice and peace organizations, sent their request in a letter to NEB chair Peter Watson asking that TransCanada’s new, updated application, expected in early Fall, not be considered until the NEB’s review process is overhauled. Meanwhile, the NEB continues to review new information sent from TransCanada, despite the fact the company’s application is no longer relevant and out of date. The NEB recently gave TransCanada a deadline of May 20 to justify why it should continue reviewing the application prior to TransCanada's filing of additional documents in the fourth quarter of 2015.
“TransCanada’s Energy East application was a complete fiasco, but one that continues to be overseen and accepted by the National Energy Board,” said Keith Stewart of Greenpeace Canada. “The federal regulatory system needs a complete overhaul if it is to be relevant and trusted again by Canadians.”
While TransCanada delays its Energy East project for two years as it looks for another oil terminal to replace Cacouna, numerous problems with the regulatory process have come to light. First Nations say the consultation process is inadequate, only people considered “directly affected” by the NEB and who choose from a pre-determined list of issues are allowed to provide input into the pipeline review, while Canadians (more than 100,000 letters sent so far to the NEB) are calling for climate change to be considered in the NEB pipeline review. In addition, the tanker routes for Energy East remain unknown, while many Quebecers are being blocked from accessing information about the proposed pipeline because the 30,000-page application is not available in French on NEB's website.
“What’s troubling is that the National Energy Board opened up TransCanada’s application to participants before the application was complete, while ignoring the many tens of thousands of Canadians who consider climate pollution essential to determining if these projects are in the national interest,” said Steven Guilbeault of Équiterre.
If built, Energy East would be the single longest oil pipeline in North America transporting crude from Alberta east through Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes and the proposed project has the potential to impact the drinking water and climate of millions of Canadians, while putting directly at risk iconic regions like the Bay of Fundy.
“There are too many unknowns around this project, especially when it comes to the Bay of Fundy,” said Matt Abbott, Fundy Baykeeper with the Conservation Council of New Brunswick. “There are a lot of dedicated people in fisheries, tourism, NGOs and government working to secure the coastal waters that are at the base of our economy and culture in New Brunswick. It is unfair of the NEB to string citizens along on an incomplete project" "
To show the growing support for climate action, 25,000 people united last month in the streets of Quebec City as part of the Act on Climate march to demand Canada’s political leaders act swiftly and smartly on climate change, which means stopping the expansion of the tar sands through pipelines like Energy East.
Some of the groups asking the NEB to close TransCanada’s Energy East application include: Environmental Defence, Council of Canadians, Conservation Council of New Brunswick, Ecology Action Centre, Transition Initiative Kenora, Greenpeace Canada, 350.org and Equiterre, Peace and Friendship Alliance, Red Head Anthony's Cove Preservation Association, ForestEthics, Sierra Club Canada, Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition (MEJC), Citizens in Action Montreal, Artistes pour la paix, Nature Quebec, David Suzuki Foundation and Action Climat Montréal.