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Montrealers disrupt "anti-democratic" pipeline hearings

Board ignores climate crisis, approves pipelines that spill, residents say

by Climate Justice Montreal

Montrealers disrupt "anti-democratic" pipeline hearings
Montrealers disrupt "anti-democratic" pipeline hearings
Montrealers disrupt "anti-democratic" pipeline hearings
MONTREAL, October 9, 2013 -- Montreal residents disrupted the pipeline hearings of the National Energy Board (NEB) today at 9:40am, calling them undemocratic and illegitimate. They say they are attempting to delay the process until a truly accountable, democratic process can be put in place.
Around 20 demonstrators were escorted from the hearings by security guards as they read aloud a prepared statement -- a fable featuring "Mr. Enbridge". They were barred from reentering the building, but no charges were laid.
"The NEB is an obsolete and undemocratic body that does not reflect the interests of Quebeckers," said Geoff Graham. "It must be replaced immediately." A recent Conservative budget implementation bill gave Stephen Harper's cabinet the ability to overturn NEB decisions. "The NEB is basically a rubber stamp, but now the Conservatives have the ultimate control, so the process is meaningless."
"NEB-approved pipelines have ruptured or spilled an average of seven times per year since 2008," he added. According to NEB figures, Enbridge pipelines approved by the NEB have spilled 12 times since January 2010 [1], not including major spills from Enbridge pipelines in the US. 
"Enbridge has shown itself to be deeply irresponsible in its management of pipelines, but the NEB has been a willing enabler," said Lindsay Hughes, a Montreal resident who read a statement during the NEB hearing today with the aim of delaying it indefinitely. Enbridge pipeline spills have released hundreds of thousands of barrels into the environment in recent years. [2] "People can't stand by and watch this NEB charade when the stakes are so high; it simply legitimizes ongoing destruction." A recent NEB report quoted a pipeline expert as saying that “Enbridge has a culture where safety management seems not to be a critical part of their operation,” and went on to say that Enbridge's Line 9 has a "high" risk of rupture. [3]
"The National Energy Board has shown that it is not willing to take the threat of dirty oil extraction to the climate seriously," said Geoff Graham. "We need a real accountable and democratic process to decide about these kinds of projects, not a front for Stephen Harper's petrocratic agenda." If approved, the pipeline Line 9 reversal would contribute significantly to the expansion of Alberta's tar sands.


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Writer, organizer, Media Co-op co-founder. Co-author of Paved with Good Intentions and Offsetting Resistance.

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