Halifax Media Co-op

News from Nova Scotia's Grassroots

More independent news:
Do you want free independent news delivered weekly? sign up now
Can you support independent journalists with $5? donate today!
Advertisement

Intervenor Pizza Party!

While National Energy Boards eschews Climate Change, Stop Energy East Halifax soldiers on

by Zack Metcalfe

On Saturday, Feb 14, members of Stop The Energy East Pipeline Halifax hosted a pizza party, at which citizens opposed to the pipeline could get help filling out an application to intervene on the project. Stop The Energy East Pipeline Halifax member and event organizer Kiki Wood (left) is shown helping Olivia Bochenek with her application. [Zack Metcalfe photo]
On Saturday, Feb 14, members of Stop The Energy East Pipeline Halifax hosted a pizza party, at which citizens opposed to the pipeline could get help filling out an application to intervene on the project. Stop The Energy East Pipeline Halifax member and event organizer Kiki Wood (left) is shown helping Olivia Bochenek with her application. [Zack Metcalfe photo]

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) - “Pizza, not pipelines” was the theme of an event held this past weekend, where Halifax citizens who oppose the Energy East Oil Pipeline could enjoy a slice and speak their piece.

The pipeline in question, formally proposed in October of last year by the energy company TransCanada, has spent several months under review by the National Energy Board (NEB). This regulatory body is responsible for reviewing all relevant aspects of the project before making a final recommendation to government…all relevant aspects except one.

“Currently the National Energy Board does not consider climate change in its review of energy projects,” said Kiki Wood, member of Stop The Energy East Pipeline Halifax. “It doesn’t consider [climate change] to be relevant.”

From February 2nd until March 3rd, the NEB is allowing members of the public who feel they would be directly impacted by the construction of this pipeline to become “interveners.” Concerned citizens need only apply online, outlining their grievances with the pipeline, and wait for the NEB to review their intervener application. If their application is accepted, they can make their concerns heard more formally by the NEB.

Wood said there are many such grievances to be considered. The Energy East Pipeline, if constructed, would carry bitumen (thick oil) from the Alberta Tar Sands to coastal terminals in Quebec and New Brunswick for overseas shipping…at a rate of 1.1 million barrels per day. In its 4,600 km journey across Canada, Wood said this pipeline would cross over 180 indigenous territories - encroaching on land rights - and cross over 900 waterways in New Brunswick alone.

“TransCanada has a 100 per cent failure rate on their pipelines,” said Wood,” which means their pipelines are guaranteed to leak at least once a year. It’s not a question of if. It’s a question of when.”

But not all Canadians can apply as interveners on these grounds, because not all Canadians live in the path of this pipeline. However, the amount this pipeline contributes to climate change would be felt by everyone, said Wood. She said it’s difficult to quantify how much the Alberta Tar Sands would expand as a result of this pipeline, but the expansion would be significant, in a time when Canada’s carbon budgets are already growing thin.

“There’s nothing that size that exists right now,” said Wood, referring to the pipeline’s intended length and carrying capacity. “We are trying to have this pipeline stopped in order to shift the focus away from an oil economy.”

With that goal firmly in mind, Stop The Energy East Pipeline Halifax hosted an “application party” on Saturday, Feb 14 at the Halifax Central Library. All concerned citizens were invited to join the party and apply as interveners, using climate change as their grievance to the NEB.

The party’s secret ingredient? Pizza.

“I think the voices of us being affected by climate change will be ignored, since the National Energy Board has made it clear they don’t think climate change is a relevant thing to consider when we’re talking about energy infrastructure, regardless of the size,” said Wood. “I think [this] is wildly irresponsible, considering they are the only third party regulatory body that is going to review this [pipeline] before it goes to government.”

Those who applied to become interveners in Halifax were by no means alone. A network of environmental organizations across Canada hosted similar parties and will continue to do so until the deadline for intervener applications has ended. Although the vast majority of applications will almost certainly be rejected by the NEB, Wood is not discouraged.

“That’s sort of the point,” she said. “We’re trying to highlight the illegitimacy and the gaps of the National Energy Board to [being] an effective body.”

Wood encourages everyone to apply with the grievance that most concerns them and as she’s quick to repeat, climate change will impact everyone.

The application can be found on the NEB website or on 350.org, an environmental organization in the United States which is active in Canada. On their website are step-by-step instructions on filling out the intervener application and also a prewritten climate change grievance which can be copied and pasted into the application.

“I actually think Halifax could be directly and very adversely impacted by the pipeline,” Wood concluded, “because the end terminal is in St John, New Brunswick, which is right on the Bay of Fundy. We’d be increasing tanker traffic by almost three times and that’s 1.1 million barrels a day going through there…A spill in the Bay of Fundy, because of the size of the tides, could flood the entire eastern seaboard with oil in 12 hours, which directly affects Halifax.”


Socialize:
Want more grassroots coverage?
Join the Media Co-op today.
770 words

Advertisement

User login


Google+
Subscribe to the Dominion $25/year

The Media Co-op's flagship publication features in-depth reporting, original art, and the best grassroots news from across Canada and beyond. Sign up now!