The National Energy Board (NEB), the federal pipeline regulator, is holding online information sessions about public participation in the upcoming review of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion proposal.
You can take part in the sessions online or by phone. The sessions started last week and run till the end of November; dates and instructions for how to register are available here.
|Photo by James Fehon|
We’re encouraging everyone to join these sessions and find out more about the public participation process. It’s also a good chance to ask some tough questions about why public involvement will be so limited, and why major impacts associated with the pipeline expansion – such as climate change – won’t be considered in the review.
Due to changes brought in by the federal government as part of last year’s Omnibus Bill C38, the NEB now gets to decide who can – and cannot – take part in the hearings, and what ‘level’ of participation members of the public will be allowed. You can read more about what we expect from the process in this background briefing, and this presentation by the NEB.
In the application to participate, people will be asked to show either that they are ‘directly affected’, or have ‘relevant information or expertise’. We won’t know exactly how the NEB will interpret these requirements until the process is underway, but it’s a key question to raise in the information sessions.
If you don’t live on the pipeline route, will you be excluded from participating because you are not considered ‘directly affected’? We all have a stake in how our resources are developed, and we will all be directly affected by the impacts of climate change. We believe that everyone who cares about this issue and wants to take the time to get involved should be allowed to have their say – not be potentially excluded by the NEB, or simply put off by an over-complicated, burdensome application process.
Once Kinder Morgan files their application, likely some time in December this year, there will be a very short window of time for the public to apply to participate. We at GSA, alongside many other environmental groups, will be providing information and support to anyone who wants to get involved. But because of the short time-frame, it’s important to prepare now.
So please do sign up for one of the NEB information sessions, and let us know what you think – and how we can help you claim your right to have your voice heard.
I think that it is important to submit an application because "directly affected" could be defined in many different ways. Examples could include: parents with children in schools located near the proposed pipeline, pipelines crossing aquifers that affect water supply to communities etc. I am assuming that the Georgia Strait Alliance could apply as an intervener as a non-profit