Prime Minister Being Aggressively Lobbied By Oil Interests
TORONTO, May 3, 2016 /CNW/ - Environmental groups across Canada say Prime Minister Trudeau's promise of a fair and credible pipeline review process is being undermined by his party's pro-pipeline public statements rather than waiting to be informed by the pipeline review process. Groups and concerned citizens have been told to wait for an improved pipeline process, which, so far, has failed to materialize.
"Prime Minister Trudeau told me during the election the Kinder Morgan process 'needs to be re-done,'" recalled Kai Nagata, spokesman for the B.C.-based Dogwood Initiative. "In January, while the National Energy Board's hearings went ahead unchanged, the government announced it would tack on some kind of extra review. Since then, nothing. People have no way of knowing if this additional process is credible, or when it will take place."
In the past week and a half, Trudeau has met to talk about future pipelines with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and the oil industry in Alberta. Major concerns on the Kinder Morgan and Energy East pipelines rests on how the public will be able to engage, how the input from the public and Indigenous peoples will inform a final decision and if there will be a 1.5° climate test applied to the pipeline projects.
"The federal government's climate test on new pipeline projects needs to be consistent with the 1.5 degree commitment made in Paris," said Dale Marshall of Environmental Defence. "To restore faith in the process, Canadians need to have confidence that a review could actually find that an energy project is not in Canadian public interest and should not be approved."
Groups also expressed concern about how information, such as the recent study proving diluted bitumen from tar sands oil is incredibly expensive and challenging to clean up, will inform the decision-making process.
"TransCanada is now required to comply with Quebec's environmental law and the public audiences on Energy East will reveal the extent of citizens' opposition to this project in Quebec" declared Sidney Ribaux, Executive Director of Équiterre. "A concrete commitment from the federal government to consider the impact of this project on Canada's GHG emissions is necessary to restore the public's confidence in the assessment process of energy projects in Canada," added Mr. Ribaux.
"Trudeau promised Canadians a credible and fair pipeline review process but his pro pipeline talk is undermining our faith in his sincerity," said Andrea Harden of the Council of Canadians. "People across Canada are concerned about what these pipelines mean in terms of their communities, climate, and the health of drinking water, land and oceans. Trudeau must stop listening to the oil lobby and get back to working for Canadians."
"In recent weeks, communities across Ontario have voiced concerns about the threat of pipelines to their drinking water," said Teika Newton of Transition Initiative Kenora. "It's time Canadians hear their concerns about drinking water and climate change count as much as pipeline-pushing premiers."
Groups involved include Environmental Defence, Equiterre, Council of Canadians, Dogwood Initiative and Transition Initiative Kenora.
For further information: Kai Nagata of Dogwood Initiative, 778-829-6493; Dale Marshall of Environmental Defence, 613-868-9917; Andrea Harden of Council of Canadians, 613-233-2773; Teika Newton of Transition Initiative Kenora, 807-466-2403; Dale Robertson of Équiterre, 514-605-2000