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100 groups urge Trudeau to put pipeline reviews on hold

Business, environmental and community groups are pushing for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to shut down a pair of pipeline reviews before heading to Paris for climate talks.
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A oil tanker is guided by tug boats as it goes under the Lions Gate Bridge. The Liberals are not opposed to the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion which would mean a lot more tankers on this waterway. But they will insist on a tougher environmental review.

Business, environmental and community groups are pushing for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to shut down a pair of pipeline reviews before heading to Paris for climate talks.

The City of Burnaby, the Georgia Strait Alliance, Greenpeace Canada and the Natural Resources Defense Council are among 100 groups seeking a halt to National Energy Board reviews of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion and TransCanada’s Energy East proposal. In a joint letter sent Thursday to Trudeau, the groups say the reviews should be put on pause until fundamental flaws in the process are fixed.

Keith Stewart, a climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace Canada, said stopping the reviews would “represent a clear act of climate leadership one month before Paris.

“A failure to assess greenhouse gas emissions for tar sands pipelines would bring great doubts on Trudeau’s commitment to fight climate change.”

Trudeau has voiced his support for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, but has also said the approval system is broken and designed to support the previous government’s objectives. The Liberals have pledged to overhaul the federal environmental review process so future projects would have the public trust.

“Stopping the pipeline reviews is one of Prime Minister Trudeau’s promises that he can fulfil alone,” Stewart said in a news release.

The groups say the energy board’s review process fails to consider upstream and downstream impacts of the projects or greenhouse gas emissions. And they say the process fails to engage and consult with First Nations.

The energy board’s review of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is already facing a legal challenge by North Vancouver’s Tsleil-Waututh Nation, which claim the process was faulty from the start. The Tsleil-Waututh was granted leave to appeal in July.

Christianne Wilhelmson, the executive director of the Georgia Strait Alliance, said her group is among hundreds of interveners pumping energy and cash into final arguments on the project that are due early next year. Kinder Morgan, meanwhile, is preparing for its final argument in December.

“It makes sense to put the reviews … on hold because continuing any farther along without a climate test, in a process that would be revised and restarted at some point, is a waste of time and taxpayer money,” Wilhelmson said in a news release.

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