Environmental groups say NEB pipeline reviews should stop until reforms are passed

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MONTREAL, Q.C. – In a letter sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, more than 30 environmental and activist groups say that the current federal review process of energy projects needs to be shut down and overhauled immediately.

According to the letter, which was also addressed to Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, no pipeline projects should go forward until Justin Trudeau reforms the National Energy Board (NEB).

Therefore, the group argues, that the current review of the Energy East pipeline proposal for Eastern Canada and the NEB’s decision to accept the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline in Alberta and British Columbia need to be annulled.

The activists say the NEB board members are in a conflict of interest and that First Nations communities are not being properly consulted.

Moreover, they argue the review process doesn’t properly explain to citizens how Canada can build pipelines and expand Alberta oilsands production while also respecting the country’s greenhouse emission targets.

Groups that signed the letter include Greenpeace and the Sierra Club Canada Foundation.

Trudeau campaigned in 2015 on the premise that Canadians had lost confidence in the NEB process after what he claimed were years of Conservative government meddling that made pipeline approvals foregone conclusions.

The Liberals put in place interim measures at the NEB — such as increased consultations with aboriginal groups — to give more legitimacy to the Energy East and Trans Mountain reviews while the government reforms the federal body.

The NEB review of TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline is on hold after protesters forced the cancellation of public consultations in Montreal at the end of August.

Protesters demanded that two of the three board members overseeing the proposal resign after it was revealed they had met with former Quebec premier Jean Charest when he was a paid lobbyist for TransCanada.

Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline was approved by the NEB in May and the federal government still has to make a decision on whether to proceed with it.

Speaking on behalf of letter signatory Environmental Defence, Patrick DeRochie acknowledged that several First Nations groups accepted the Kinder Morgan proposal, while pointing out that many also opposed it.

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