Protest, banner drop at National Energy Board hearings expose explicit ban on tar sands discussion in pipeline hearing

Banner drop in front the of Metro Convention Centre, where the NEB hearings are taking place this week in Toronto. Photo: Michael Toledano
Banner drop in front the of Metro Convention Centre, where the NEB hearings are taking place this week in Toronto. Photo: Michael Toledano

Lyn Adamson, Toronto Media Co-op

NEB Hearings start in Toronto today, here’s what they won’t be hearing.

A banner drop and a series of gaged protestors demonstrated what is being left out of the National Energy Board (NEB) hearings that are taking place this week in Toronto. The subject of the hearings is Enbridge’s Line 9 reversal and expansion proposal, which would allow the company to ship tar sands bitumen from Sarnia to Montreal. Groups today protested the fact that the hearings have explicitly banned discussion of upstream and downstream impacts of the pipeline reversal and expansion, which would allow the tar sands to expand production and refining.

“Stop Line 9: tar sands = industrial genocide” read a large banner that hung from the Metro Convention Centre’s steps. “We want to remind people that Line 9 is one battle of a larger fight against the most destructive project on the planet, which has already transformed an area the size of Florida into what’s termed a ‘sacrifice zone’,” said Vanessa Gray, an Anishnaabe kwe organizer with Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia Against Pipelines. “The tar sands have been termed a ‘slow industrial genocide’ by the native people living downstream, but this term also applies to people living near the refining of this toxic substance. My people are dying from this industry.”

Aamjiwnaang First Nation has 63 chemical refineries within 50 km of the community. Community-monitoring has reported that 40 per cent of the population required inhalers to breath and 39 per cent of women had experienced miscarriages.

Other groups participating in the action highlighted the increased contribution to climate change that Enbridge’s proposal would entail.

“Approving the transport of diluted bitumen means expanding tar sands production which will be a disaster for the planet, said Lyn Adamson Co Chair Canadian Voice of Women for Peace. “These hearings do not replace the need for an environmental assessment. A National Energy Board should be considering alternatives, such as renewable energy and conservation.”

In addition to restricting who could speak at the hearings, the Omnibus Bill C-38 restricted what those individuals could say in the National Energy Board hearing, restricting discussion on tar sands production or refining.

There will be a large rally against Line 9 at the NEB hearings this Saturday, Oct 19 outside the National Energy Board hearings.

County Says Harvest Camp Is Illegal, Awaiting County Board Decision

Mary Annette Pember, Indian Country Today Media Network

The Iron County Forestry Committee met today, July 23 in a closed session to consider how the county should proceed regarding the Penokee Harvest Camp in the nearby Penokee Hills. Joe Vairus, head of the Iron County Forestry and Parks department has issued this statement via e-mail, “Here was the motion made by Scott Erickson, supported by Bill Thomas. With regard to the harvest camp, in light of the failure to obtain proper permits to occupy County Forest the Committee recommends that the County Board authorize pursuit of criminal and civil action to enforce County ordinances and to fulfill the County’s obligations under state law.”

The vote was unanimous.

Members of the Lac Courte Orielles Ojibwe tribe and supporters who are opposed to the creation of an open pit iron ore mine planned by Gogebic Taconite (GTAC) established the camp this past spring.

The Committee’s recommendation must go before the Iron County Board of Supervisors for a final decision. The next board meeting is on July 30 in Hurley at 6 p.m.

Harvest camp residents and LCO chairman Mic Isham maintain that camp residents are exercising their rights to hunt, gather and fish under treaty rights on the ceded territory.

Iron County Forestry officials, however, maintain that treaty rights do not extend to camping. Therefore, the Harvest Camp is bound by county rules limiting camping to 14 days.

As reported in a previous story, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has oversight on such issues. RELATED: Who is Illegal in Wis. Mining Country? Harvest Camp or GTAC?

Although DNR attorney Quinn Williams indicated that the state has identified concerns regarding the camp, the office won’t take action until Iron County has made their final decision.



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