Vancouver/Victoria – Environmental groups are preparing for an intensive public outreach campaign after the National Energy Board (NEB) opened up applications this week for the public to participate in hearings on the proposed 1,150-kilometre Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline.
To apply, members of the public are forced to sign up with a government user ID or log in through their financial institution, and must then complete a lengthy online application. If users cannot fill the form out online, they are told to call for assistance and must wait for a hard copy to be delivered by mail.
Applications from individuals and groups wishing to participate will be only accepted from January 15 to February 12, 2014 following the company’s formal project application, which was filed with the NEB in December 2013.
“The tar sands have come home to BC,” said Eoin Madden, Climate Campaigner with the Wilderness Committee. “Local communities do not want to see this project proceed, and it is our job to support them in having their voices heard loud and clear.”
The Wilderness Committee, along with several other conservation groups, oppose the Kinder Morgan pipeline proposal, which they say would dramatically increase tanker traffic in the Salish Sea, and would create an unacceptable risk of marine- or land-based oil spills. Environmentalists are also concerned about the climate impacts associated with increasing tar sands exports.
Changes to Canadian environmental assessment legislation have severely limited the public’s right to participate in environmental reviews for energy projects like the Trans Mountain pipeline.
Members of the public are now subjected to a very prohibitive application process, and all participants are required to prove that they are either “directly affected” by the proposed project or possess “relevant expertise.” In order to participate as an intervenor or to submit a letter of comment, all applicants must be approved by the NEB.
In an effort to support individuals and groups who wish to intervene in the process, the Wilderness Committee is hosting workshops at its Vancouver and Victoria offices.