January 27 2017, Turtle Island—The newly named National Energy Board (NEB) panel tasked with reviewing TransCanada’s Energy East tar sands pipeline application has just announced that it had no choice but to restart the review process at square one due to the bias shown by the previous panel, just as many First Nations that are part of the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion - www.treatyalliance.org - had demanded in submissions made to the NEB.
“Kanesatake has said from the beginning that the NEB process is a sham and the NEB decision today confirms that,” said Grand Chief Serge Simon, Mohawk Council of Kanesatake. “But the meeting in question with Jean Charest that led to all of this was just the tip of the iceberg – the NEB is a biased and broken institution that has been rubber stamping tar sands pipelines for years.”
As we learned this week, United States President Trump is trying to pressure federal agencies, through the issuance of executive memos, to rush through the reviews of two other pipelines that the Treaty Alliance is fighting: the fracked oil Dakota Access Pipeline that Enbridge is still seeking to purchase 27% of, and TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. But on the Canadian side, we have had our own rushed, illegitimate pipeline review process for years which led to the approvals of the Canadian portions of the Keystone XL project and Enbridge Line 3 replacement project, as well as the approval of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion project.
“The fact that the NEB process leaves absolutely no room for First Nations, nor for any consideration of the extreme threat that we face from climate change, led the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs to recently file legal proceedings against the Line 3 project on the basis of our Constitutionally protected rights but also our own laws, namely the Great Binding Law,” said Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.
A number of First Nations in British Columbia are also in Court challenging the NEB review of the Kinder Morgan pipeline and the federal approval of the pipeline based on that illegitimate review.
“First Nations demanded Prime Minister Trudeau live up to his oft-repeated campaign promise to not approve pipelines until the NEB was overhauled, but as we saw, Trudeau chose to merely tinker and 'modernize' the NEB only after approving the Kinder Morgan and Line 3 pipelines,” added Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “It’s not surprising to First Nations that we now see Trudeau cheerleading Trump’s attempt to ram through the Keystone XL pipeline rather than honouring the Paris Agreement, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Totally bogus!”
122 First Nations and Tribes have now signed the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion stating their official opposition to the expansion of the Alberta tar sands and barring the passage of proposed tar sands pipeline and rail projects, including their associated tanker traffic. The signatories are working collectively to enforce the ban which covers the following pipeline projects, which threaten our water and our coasts and which would fuel catastrophic climate change effects (by making further tar sands expansion possible): Kinder Morgan, Line 3, Keystone XL, Energy East and Northern Gateway, which our members stopped long ago.
The Treaty Alliance also stands with signatory the Standing Rock Sioux Tribes as it continues on its historic battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
For more information on the Treaty Alliance, contact: [email protected]