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The energy file continues to be dominated by protests and court cases, as the Federal Court of Appeal yesterday resumed a hearing which started last week and is expected to conclude on Thursday.

This week environmental activists and organized labor are scheduled to present their arguments in opposition to the Northern Gateway Pipeline project.

They’ve joined with eight aboriginal bands in the court challenge to overturn the federal government’s approval of the controversial seven billion dollar project.

The proposed 1,200 KM twin pipeline would carry diluted bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands to the northern BC coast, where it would then be shipped overseas by tankers.

There’s environmental spill concern associated with both pipeline and tanker shipment of the crude and the court is considering eighteen legal challenges.

Meanwhile, Vancouver saw another Site C protest on Sunday, as opponents continue to hammer home the point construction of the third dam on the Peace River breaks both federal and provincial law and violates Treaty 8.

Organizer Jennifer O’Keeffe, spoke at this protest outside BC Hydro headquarters and she focused on what she sees as the public accountability challenge.

“You’ve got a government that’s violating international and federal law, violating their own provincial statuettes,” she said. “Who’s going to hold them accountable? It’s going to be the people. The people have to hold the government accountable because they have proven they can’t hold themselves accountable.”

Hydro says BC’s energy needs will increase by 40 percent in less than two decades and it needs to complete the project to meet that challenge.

However the protesters challenge that claim and argue the project flood zone would remove a significant amount of quality farmland.

“Only 5% of British Columbia has arable land, which means that only 5%’s land can naturally sustain agriculture. The Peace River Valley is the largest region of that land.” said O’Keeffe.

Opponents continues to insist it’s essential the BC Utilities Commission and the Agriculture Land Commission have a voice in the project’s environmental assessment process, and the Peace Valley Landowners Association is appealing a provincial Supreme Court ruling this past summer denying a request for a review.

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