VANCOUVER, May 15, 2014 /CNW/ - Today the group of landowners, business people, academics and environmental advocates who on May 6 filed a constitutional challenge to the Harper Government's amendments to the National Energy Board Act that have the effect of prohibiting the assessment of climate change on infrastructure planning, have filed a further application asking the National Energy Board to convene a public hearing so that their challenge can be properly adjudicated.
In its filing today the group requested that the NEB convene a hearing to fully and properly assess its position that it intends to refuse to consider the upstream and downstream effects of the massive expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline which is proposed for the heart of Vancouver harbour.
The group's position is that the NEB's current stance that it will ignore the impacts of climate change in its assessment of Kinder Morgan's application is both inconsistent with its mandate to consider whether such a long life project is in the broad public interest and that it violates the public's right to freedom of expression guaranteed by s. 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Describing why the group's motion for a full public hearing of its challenge should be granted applicant Lynne Quarmby said: "The NEB seems to be determined that if it buries its head in the sand deep enough it can refuse to see what is absolutely clear to everyone around it. This motion invites the Board to come into the public realm, to confront the evidence that climate change is real and cannot be ignored and to publically state, if it dares, that it will continue to ignore reality. We hope that, given the opportunity, it will come to its senses and agree to conduct a full and proper inquiry into the wisdom of the Kinder Morgan application."
In its filing, the group offers its leading climate change experts for cross examination and offers to call further evidence arising from both the US National Climate Assessment and a recent NASA report related to ice shelf collapse in support of its core position that climate change is real, that it will have impacts and that proper planning process must consider these impacts. The group says that the NEB's refusal to conduct a full and proper assessment of the impacts of climate change upon the proposal is both contrary to its mandate and unconstitutional.
Kinder Morgan proposes to increase shipments from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 by 2017. Testimony filed in the legal challenge by Dr. Mark Jaccard and Dr. Danny Harvey illustrate that oil sands mining would increase significantly to meet the intensified barrels-per-day target with significant climate implications.
For more information http://forestethics.org/neb-legal-docs
SOURCE: ForestEthics Advocacy Association
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