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Mon, 2015-03-23 11:47Carol Linnitt
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Citizens Take Constitutional, Free Speech Challenge Against National Energy Board to Supreme Court

A group of citizens fighting to speak about climate change and the oilsands at National Energy Board (NEB) reviews of pipeline projects, like the current Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline, are taking their battle all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The group, comprised of landowners, academics, owners of business and many others, filed a constitutional challenge against the NEB’s restrictive policies that limit public participation and prevent discussion of climate and upstream oil and gas activities.

The purpose of taking the challenge to the Supreme Court “is to ask that Court to direct the NEB to do its job properly,” David Martin, legal counsel, explained in a statement.

The NEB's claim that it cannot consider scientific evidence regarding the long term impacts of the export of bitumen is simply wrong,” Martin said.

“Instead the NEB is making a misguided choice to adopt an unconstitutionally narrow interpretation of its jurisdiction so as to avoid having to address the real competing public interests that pipeline approval applications necessarily entail.”

Mon, 2015-03-09 17:59Derek Leahy
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Treaty 3 First Nations Sign Declaration Against Transport of Bitumen in Territory Without Consent

A wall of First Nations opposition to the proposed Energy East oil pipeline is emerging in northwestern Ontario, where Treaty 3 Anishinaabe chiefs unanimously endorsed a declaration on crude shipments through their territory.

We are joined to Declare to our Nation, as the political leadership we are determined to ensure that no oil or bitumen shall be transported through Anishinaabe Aki without our full, prior and informed consent,” the eleven-point declaration signed on February 26th in Couchiching First Nation reads.

Much like the Save the Fraser Declaration, which galvanized First Nations opposition against the Northern Gateway pipeline in British Columbia, this document demonstrates Treaty 3 chiefs are also concerned about the risks of piping oil and oilsands (also called tar sands) bitumen through their traditional territory and drinking water supply.

Water is sacred. Water is life,” Chief Fawn Wapioke of Iskatewizaagegan (Shoal Lake #39 First Nation), a signatory of the declaration, said.

Thu, 2015-03-05 13:07Derek Leahy
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Over 1,800 Apply to Participate in Federal Review of Energy East Pipeline, Vast Majority Want to Discuss Climate

Energy East Pipeline climate NEB

By midnight March 3 the National Energy Board (NEB) received 1,801 applications from groups and individuals wishing to express their views on the proposed Energy East oil pipeline. At least 1,250 applicants indicated they want to comment on the impacts the west-to-east pipeline will have on climate change, according to environmental organization 350.org.

I have applied to intervene at the NEB hearing to talk about the impact of the proposed pipeline on greenhouse gas emissions because I think that it’s outrageous that impacts of the pipeline on climate would be deliberately excluded from the assessment process,” Danny Harvey, professor of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto said in a statement.

The NEB, Canada’s federal pipeline regulator, has been clear it will not accept public comments on the climate impacts of TransCanada's Energy East pipeline. With the majority of applicants wanting to comment on this very issue, the NEB is now in a position where it may very well deny most applicants a voice in the regulatory review process.  

This speaks to Canadians wanting to talk about climate change and tar sands expansion at the federal level. There is nowhere else to go to talk about this stuff with the federal government,” Cam Fenton, Canadian Tar Sands Organizer with 350.org, told DeSmog Canada.

Wed, 2015-02-18 09:00Carol Linnitt
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DeSmogCAST 11: Corporate Political Influence, UK Fracking and Rick Perry's Dirty Energy Ties

In this episode of DeSmogCAST, Farron Cousins, Carol Linnitt, Kyla Mandel and Brendan DeMelle kick things off with a discussion about corporate spending in Canada and how the oil and gas industry is moving money to influence political decisions and public debate.

Next Kyla Mandel explains the significance of a new law in the UK that will expose park lands to the dangers of fracking.

Finally Brendan DeMelle discusses new revelations of Rick Perry's ties to the pipeline industry in Iowa and how these connections may influence his chances of winning the Republican nomination for the 2016 Presidential run.

Fri, 2015-02-13 15:29Derek Leahy
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Energy East: Groups Demand Transparency On Proposed Export Terminal in Quebec

transcanada energy east st. lawrence beluga habitat

Environmental organizations are demanding TransCanada clarify immediately whether constructing a marine oil tanker terminal in Quebec is still part of the company’s Energy East oil pipeline project.

[TransCanada] should reconsider its positions and show more transparency by revealing its real intentions behind its project in Quebec. The company should stop showing disregard to Quebecers and give us the real facts,” Christian Simard, director of Nature Québec said in a statement.

Earlier this week the Montreal-based news outlet La Presse reported that several sources in the Quebec government had confirmed TransCanada is no longer considering Cacouna, a port on the St. Lawrence River, as the site of an export terminal for the 4,600 kilometre west-to-east proposed pipeline.

TransCanada quickly denied the report. The Calgary-based pipeline company insists it will make a decision on Cacouna at the end of March.

Wed, 2015-02-11 11:04Derek Leahy
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TransCanada Reportedly Abandons Plans for Energy East Export Terminal in Endangered Beluga Habitat

TransCanada appears to have dumped plans for constructing a marine oil tanker export terminal at the controversial location of Cacouna, Quebec, as part of its Energy East oil pipeline project.

Several sources in the Quebec government told Montreal-based newspaper La Presse TransCanada is abandoning its plans for Cacouna, on the shores of the St. Lawrence River, as the 1.1 million barrels-a-day pipeline project’s Quebec export terminal. A second terminal is proposed for Saint John, New Brunswick.

This is a great citizen victory,” Patrick Bonin, Climate and Energy Campaigner with Greenpeace Canada in Montreal, said. Cacouna’s close proximity to the breeding grounds of the St. Lawrence Estuary beluga whales has been at the centre of controversy around the proposed marine terminal in Quebec.

TransCanada denies its has given up on Cacouna. According to a TransCanada spokesperson, the Calgary-based pipeline company intends on making a decision on the Cacouna terminal at the end of March. Francois Poirier, president of the Energy East, made the same announcement last week.

Tue, 2015-02-10 15:07Derek Leahy
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Canada's Pipeline Review Process Broken But Still Important, Critics Say

The National Energy Board (NEB), Canada’s federal pipeline regulator, has come under tremendous public criticism over the last three years for limiting public participation in its review of major oil pipeline proposals. In recent years the board has denied hundreds of Canadians an opportunity to voice their concerns on projects like Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and Enbridge’s Line 9.

TransCanada’s Energy East, Canada’s largest proposed oil pipeline, is the newest project to land on the NEB’s desk. Despite major barriers to participation in the public hearing process, Canadians are preparing to apply in droves, even if just for the opportunity to be officially rejected from the process.

We can’t sit back and we can’t afford the luxury of despair,” Donna Sinclair of North Bay, Ontario said. “We need to resist efforts to shut us out of the process.”

Sinclair, who was denied the opportunity to submit a letter of comment regarding the Line 9 pipeline project in 2013, plans on applying to participate in the NEB review process for Energy East.

Fri, 2015-02-06 11:38Carol Linnitt
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Canada’s Public Companies Should Disclose Political Spending: Report

Unlike the U.S., where the wellspring of cash flooding federal elections is reaching a new level of absurdity (try $5 billion), Canada has kept federal political campaigns relatively grounded by placing an outright ban on corporate donations during elections. 

Yet the influence publicly-traded corporations exercise in Canada – through lobbying, political contributions during provincial elections, think tank support, advertising and advocacy campaigns – remains hugely significant, according to a discussion paper recently released by the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE), an organization that provides investment services and research to institutional investors.

Concern about the effect of money on politics is perennial,” Kevin Thomas, report author and director of stakeholder engagement for SHARE, writes. “Aside from the obvious concerns about the outright corruption and/or illicit expenses and bribery, there is a broader concern about the influence of private interests on the development of policy and regulation, as well as on the content and tenor of public political debate.”

Wed, 2015-02-04 19:18Emma Gilchrist
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Five Poll Results That Are Gonna Cause Oil Execs Some Headaches

Alberta Oil Magazine just published its National Survey on Energy Literacy, the culmination of 1,396 online interviews of a representative sample of Canadians conducted by Leger.

The results are particularly interesting coming from Alberta Oil, a magazine destined for the desks of the energy sector’s senior executives and decision-makers.

Summing up the survey’s findings about “The Issues,” Alberta Oil editors write that opposition to energy projects is “not just for West Coast hippies anymore.”

Indeed. There are quite a few nuggets in the survey’s findings that are probably causing a headache or two in Calgary’s corner offices this week. We round up the Top 5.

1) Opposition to the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline is just as serious as opposition to Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline — if not more so, according to the survey. What’s more, the more highly educated citizens are, the less likely they are to support Trans Mountain or Northern Gateway. Hmph, maybe the anti-pipeline crowd isn’t all unemployed hippies after all?

Mon, 2015-02-02 13:25Derek Leahy
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Groups Argue Flawed Assumptions in Energy East Report Behind "Modest" Climate Impacts of Pipeline

Energy East

A panel of leading environmental groups expressed concern last week over findings in an Ontario Energy Board commissioned report that suggest oil tanker trains could replace TransCanada's proposed Energy East pipeline if the project isn't approved. 

We believe the report makes a number of flawed assumptions on rail capacity, and actually goes beyond the oil industry’s own projections,” Ben Powless, a panel presenter at the province's Energy East stakeholder meeting and pipeline community organizer for Ecology Ottawa, said.

The energy board's report, written by Navius Research, estimates the greenhouse gas (GHG) impact of the pipeline  which is project to carry 1.1 million barrels of oil per day  will be “modest” since the oil could could just as easily be brought to market by rail.

It is highly unlikely that 1.1 million barrels of oil or even half of that could be shipped by rail,” Adam Scott, climate and energy program manager at Environmental Defence Canada, countered. Scott and Powless joined panel members from the Council of Canadians and the Ottawa chapter of 350.org to argue against the report's findings at a stakeholders meeting on Energy East in Ottawa last week.

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