We stand on guard for thee...against Big Oil
By Chris Genovali, Executive Director
There is a poignancy in the National Energy Board’s (NEB) review process for the Northern Gateway project concluding right before Canada Day. As we celebrate this iconic holiday, many Canadians are questioning whether our democratic institutions and processes still work, or if they have been irreparably compromised by the undue influence of an increasingly monolithic oil industry. Having just spent the last two years participating in one of those processes, at Raincoast we are hoping it is the former, not the latter.
We made a commitment to oppose Enbridge's proposal both within and outside the federal Joint Review Panel (JRP) process. So in addition to our Art for an Oil-Free Coast and Groundswell outreach initiatives, we have been giving it our all as interveners in the Northern Gateway JRP.
While we filed with the NEB in 2011, the prelude to our role in the hearings actually started seven years earlier. In 2004, Raincoast began five years of ocean surveys to determine the abundance and distribution of BC's marine mammals and birds. Our goal was to inform the growing debate about turning the BC coast into an energy corridor.
In 2009, Raincoast completed seven seasons and 14,000 kilometres of survey trackline, counting several thousand marine mammals and well over 20,000 marine birds. This work formed an important part of our JRP evidence.
In the time between filing our initial evidence in the hearings two years ago and submitting our final arguments this past month, we have engaged in a staggering amount of work. In addition to the dedication of the entire Raincoast staff, our efforts have been supported by legal counsel at Ecojustice and our JRP coalition partners Living Oceans Society and Forest Ethics.
Although the hearings have concluded, Raincoast’s work to stop Northern Gateway has not. In December, the JRP makes its recommendations to the Prime Minister. And while we welcome the BC government’s rejection of the Enbridge application, the province has clearly left the door open to future reconsideration of Northern Gateway.
It's critical that we maintain momentum. Our aim over the next six months is to keep this issue at the top of the political agenda, in the media spotlight and on the public’s mind. We need your help to continue our efforts to stop this ill-advised tar sands pipeline and oil tanker proposal.
Please support us by making a tax-deductible donation to Raincoast Conservation Foundation.
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