“No new fossil fuel extraction or transportation infrastructure should be built, and governments should grant no new permits for them.” – from Oil Change International, a Washington, D.C.-based research and advocacy organization
News from Hamilton, Ontario’s Citizens at City Hall
Posted September 29th, 2016 on Niagara At Large
Hamilton, Ontario – The embattled National Energy Board opens hearings in Hamilton in mid-October on an Enbridge oil pipeline proposal that runs 35 kilometres across the city’s rural area between Westover and Nebo Road.
It will face local protests aligned with a rapidly growing continent-wide movement that is challenging all projects that increase the extraction or transportation of fossil fuels.
The Hamilton 350 Committee wants the October 18 hearings suspended until the Trudeau government’s promised reforms are put in place. That echoes the demands delivered to the Prime Minister earlier this month by fifty Canadian organizations.
And the climate-driven protest is also bolstered by a national aboriginal declaration last week, and a “spectacular” international investment shift away from fossil fuels that coincides with new evidence that any expansion of the sector will sink last year’s Paris climate agreement.
The NEB sets up at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (150 King East at Catherine) on Tuesday, October 18 and will be met by a noon protest rally of Hamilton 350 and other groups.
“Shutdown of the NEB is especially urgent because of multiple scandals including the recent suspension of the entire Energy East panel, the recusal from administrative duties of both the chair and vice-chair of the NEB, and the Board’s repeated refusal to consider the effects of climate change in its decisions,” argues the local climate action group. “This shutdown must include the hearings in Hamilton on Enbridge’s proposal to triple the capacity of thirty-five kilometres of its Line 10 export pipeline.”
That stance echoes the position of fifty environmental, faith, aboriginal and community organizations who wrote to Trudeau on September 7 arguing that “the NEB suffers from so many short-comings and conflicts of interest that the institution fundamentally lacks legitimacy.” The group includes the Council of Canadians, Greenpeace and the West Coast Environmental Law Association and maintains that “it is unreasonable to ask people who are deeply concerned about the growing climate change emergency to trust in a review process that your own government has acknowledged is inadequate.”
A separate development last week saw more than fifty First Nations sign a pan-continental Treaty Alliance “to officially prohibit and to agree to collectively challenge and resist the use of respective territories and coasts in connection with the expansion of the production of the Alberta tar sands, including the transport of such expanded production, whether by pipeline, rail or tanker.”
The First Nations are opposing the Kinder Morgan, Northern Gateway, and Energy East pipelines in Canada as well as Enbridge’s Line 3 expansion in the US and the construction of the new Dakota Access pipe (which has Enbridge funding) nearly 1900 kilometres across four states that is facing escalating protests.
While Enbridge faces more opposition, the company is reaching out for allies in the local environmental sector with financial gifts to both Green Venture and the Hamilton Conservation Authority. The board of the latter agency is dominated by city councillors, but is also the regulator of water and fill permits needed by Enbridge for Line 10 and other pipeline work in Hamilton.
Last week also saw a report from the International Energy Agency that investment in oil and gas fell by 25 percent last year while financing of renewables rose more than 30 percent. “Our findings carry a very important message for climate change and for the Paris agreement,” said the executive director of the IEA. “Anyone who does not understand what is going on – governments, companies, markets – is not in the right place.”
That investment shift is required according to another report issued last week which calculates that the world will be unable to limit climate warming to the agreed upon two Celsius degrees if any new fossil fuel mines are begun.
“The potential carbon emissions from the oil, gas, and coal in the world’s currently operating fields and mines would take us beyond 2°C of warming,” the study confirms. “No new fossil fuel extraction or transportation infrastructure should be built, and governments should grant no new permits for them.”
CATCH (Citizens at City Hall) updates use transcripts and/or public documents to highlight information about Hamilton civic affairs that is not generally available in the mass media. Detailed reports of City Hall meetings can be reviewed at hamiltoncatch.org.
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