Dr. Dawg

National Energy Board: fair and balanced

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tar sands1.jpg

…in the vulpine sense.

Reader Holly Stick brings this article to my attention.

Hearings are presently being conducted into the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.

The Joint Review Panel for the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project is an independent body, mandated by the Minister of the Environment and the National Energy Board. The Panel will assess the environmental effects of the proposed project and review the application under both the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the National Energy Board Act.

The review has already attracted the ire of various astroturf groups (whose connections and interconnections are admirably traced here). Too many furriners and special-interest groups are being allowed to appear, they say. It’s going to delay construction. It shouldn’t be allowed.

But don’t be fooled. The review will be anything but impartial: despite all the hype, the cards have been stacked against the pro-environment groups from the start.

The pipeline is directly connected to the development of the Alberta tar sands. But the National Energy Board has excluded testimony about the latter—from pro-environment groups only:

The National Energy Board (NEB), the federal body tasked with overseeing the Enbridge hearing, issued a general directive one year ago designed to exclude input from prominent environmental groups critical of the astonishingly rapid expansion of the tar sands - an expansion that only stands to increase with the proposed pipeline.

According to the NEB, information regarding the cumulative environmental impacts of the tar sands - including climate change impacts - is irrelevant to the hearing, which is intended to consider information regarding the pipeline alone.

This is like conducting a study of the environmental effects of smokestacks without taking into account the toxic processes used to create the smoke. It makes no sense.

But the NEB has no such compunction when it comes to the pipeline builders themselves. The latter have been permitted to make their submissions based entirely upon the alleged beneficial results of continued tar sands development.

The premise of Enbridge’s Project Application submitted by the Northern Gateway Pipelines Limited Partnership falls entirely upon the benefits the pipeline will bring to tar sands development. The pipeline is in no way a standalone project; its contribution to the tar sands economy is its only measure of success.

Two weights, two measures. The appearance of fairness—allowing numerous environmental groups to testify—is a blind. Criticism of the hearings by the “ethical” oil types appears to be a ruse. At the end of the day, the hearings have been deliberately structured to exclude vital information about the over-all environmental degradation caused by Big Oil. The fix is in.

UPDATE: (January 26)

The Conservative government regards the NEB as an “ally”—and First Nations and environmental groups as “adversaries.”

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on January 25, 2012 3:17 PM.

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