MONTREAL, Dec. 17, 2014 /CNW/ - Citizens and organizations across Quebec today announced their support for a motion, delivered to the National Energy Board (NEB) by the Quebec Environmental Law Centre (QELC), requiring the formal review process of TransCanada's Energy East pipeline application continue only after an official French translation of the application documents is made available on the federal institution's website.
The QELC's request aims to ensure the NEB hearing process is made fully accessible for francophones and that all essential documents be officially translated.
"Most of the new construction necessary for this pipeline project, along with its main impacts, will occur in Quebec. It is inconceivable the NEB could begin reviewing TransCanada's application while the documents filed, totaling 30,000 pages, are not available in French," said Sidney Ribaux of Équiterre.
The QELC is also requesting that the 15-month legislative deadline to review the project not begin until all the documents are available in French.
"In order to ensure the equitable participation of Canadian francophones, we have a right to expect that the federal approval process timeline be stopped while we wait for the translation," said Karine Péloffy, QELC director.
Patrick Bonin for Greenpeace Canada added, "this short legislative deadline was part of major changes to federal laws brought by the Conservative government's omnibus bills in 2012 in order to accelerate pipeline approval processes, limit public participation and grant the federal government the power to reverse NEB recommendations."
The QELC also filed a complaint with the Official Languages Commissioner of Canada, as have a half dozen citizens and organizations.
"It is grossly unfair that we even have to ask for French translation so that we can participate in the process, especially as most affected farmers speak only French," said Jacques Tétreault, spokesperson for the Réseau Vigilance Hydrocarbures Québec, the province's largest citizen group formed around fossil fuels.
The legal action is supported by a coalition of 20 Quebec-based citizen, environmental, agricultural, union and language rights groups, including the Association des propriétaires privés, agricoles, acéricoles et forestiers, the Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique (AQLPA), the Coalition Vigilance Oléoducs, the Conseil central Montréal métropolitain of CSN, the Council of Canadians (Montreal chapter) the Coalition québécoise pour une gestion responsable de l'eau Eau Secours!, ENvironnement JEUnesse, Équiterre, the David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace Canada, Mouvement STOP oléoduc, Nature Québec, the Pétroliques Anonymes, the Regroupement national des conseils régionaux de l'environnement, the Regroupement vigilance hydrocarbures Québec, Sierra Club Québec, la Société pour la Nature et les Parcs Québec, la Société Saint-Jean Baptiste et la Société pour vaincre la pollution.
SOURCE: Quebec Environmental Law Centre
For further information: Karine Peloffy - QELC Director: 514 746-6597, Sidney Ribaux - Equiterre Director: 514 910-2024, Patrick Bonin - Greenpeace Canada: 514 594-1221, Jacques Tétreault - RVHQ: 450 261-6151