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Outside the National Energy Board (NEB) hearings in Burnaby yesterday, activists delivered petitions with 26,050 signatures calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to reject Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline.
While members of the general public are still not allowed into the hearings, a representative accepted the boxes of petitions on behalf of the NEB.
"Our goal is to send a really clear message to Trudeau and his cabinet that they need to reject the Kinder Morgan pipeline," says SumOfUs Campaign Director, Liz McDowell. "That's what tens of thousands of Canadians want them to do."
The petitions were dropped off in spite of the government's announcement yesterday about its new assessment process for pipelines and energy projects.
"It's basically putting a band-aid on a broken process," says McDowell.
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr's announced changes included a commitment to science-based evidence, input and knowledge from Indigenous groups, new NEB members, consideration of public views, and a much-needed review of climate change effects.
However, environmental groups received the government's announcement with some apprehension, particularly as the current NEB hearings for Kinder Morgan continue.
"This is an important step forward, but the most significant climate impacts -- the ones that occur when the fuels are burned -- still aren't being considered," said Peter McCartney, Climate Campaigner for the Wilderness Committee in a statement.
The new process also fails to take into consideration downstream climate impacts of pipelines and cannot address concerns of a lack of cross-examination in the current Kinder Morgan reviews.
"We've come a long way from a process that wouldn't even acknowledge climate change," said McCartney. "Now we need to make sure that full impact of these projects is taken into account."
In spite of the government's announcements yesterday, the current reviews for Kinder Morgan will continue to take place until January 29, after which they will conclude in Calgary from February 2 through February 5. You can watch a live stream of the hearings online.
Alyse Kotyk is a Vancouver-based writer and editor with a passion for social justice and storytelling. She studied English Literature and Global Development at Queen's University and is excited by media that digs deep, asks questions and shares narratives. Alyse was the Editor of Servants Quarters and has written for the Queen's News Centre, Quietly Media and the Vancouver Observer. She is now rabble's News Intern.
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