I am writing this so that everyone reading this paper can be aware of the struggle to participate in the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel Hearings for public comments. I am in strong opposition of the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline, AKA Enbridge, or the development of other pipelines across BC for many undeniable reasons; contribution to climate change through the expansion of tar sands; increased tanker traffic along the delicate coastline harboring endangered and sensitive species, the fragmentation of habitat and risk of oil contamination along numerous fish-bearing streams and to unique species such as spirit bears, coastal wolves, and bald eagles; the disrespectful disregard of first nations quality of life and cultural values, Canada’s role in exporting fossil fuels, and so on and so forth. I was hesitant to participate in the Enbridge Hearing Panel as several First Nations refused to partake as the hearing was viewed as biased. The panel is largely from the energy sector.
However, I believed that I should play every card and make my voice heard at the front lines where the discussion was taking place. I dutifully requested my spot before the deadline. I was informed the hearing would be in Calgary, January 2013. About three weeks ago I was informed that the hearing had been moved ahead to August 1st. I was alarmed by the change in plans and realized that several people registered would not be able to change their summer plans or work schedule as easily as the Hearing Panel could. Indeed, hearings were canceled in a few local BC communities after the date changes were announced due to not enough registered participants being able to attend on the new day. Two days ago I received and email telling me that the Calgary hearing had been cancelled for the same reason. My options are to register somewhere else or make my statement via teleconference.
The decision to go through with pipeline development across BC is one of the biggest I am facing in my lifetime. It affects my identity as a Canadian Citizen and my hopes and dreams for the future of many species. Another pipeline leak has occurred in Wisconsin, owned and operated by Enbridge. I have written the panel, encouraged others to participate, helped organize a community rally against pipeline projects, written the editor, and cried and cried and cried about our governmen’s direction towards unsustainable expansion of the energy sector through resource extraction. There is no business to be had on a dead planet.
4,500 people across B.C. registered to have their views heard by the panel, but due to panel changes to date commitments, many of those hearings have been cancelled. Let’s prevent this ecological and cultural disaster before it happens. We must ensure that we are heard in other ways. Stay engaged.
You can submit your knowledge, views or concerns about the proposed project in writing as a letter of comment. The Panel reads every letter of comment that is received. Letters of comment can be submitted electronically using the online form available at http://gatewaypanel.review-examen.gc.ca/efile/LetterOfComment.aspx. Alternately, you can submit a letter of comment via mail or fax to the coordinates below:
Secretary to the Joint Review Panel
Joint Review Panel – Enbridge Northern Gateway Project
444 Seventh Avenue S.W.: Calgary, Alberta T2P 0X8
Facsimile: 403-292-5503, or toll free at 1-877-288-8803
The deadline to submit a letter of comment is 31 August 2012.