Something big is happening right now. 

Last week the governments of Quebec and Ontario announced that they had aligned on seven conditions for the approval of the Energy East pipeline – including a legislated climate test. At the same time, fierce community resistance on Burnaby Mountain has been mountain for two days, with over 50 arrests and a growing presence on the mountain bearing witness to Kinder Morgan’s work on the TransMountain tar sands pipeline.

These two things may be happening on different sides of the country, but could not be more connected. In this age of climate change building new fossil fuel infrastructure, especially without considering the climate impact of that infrastructure is morally wrong and moving in the wrong direction from where we need to be. 

The Kinder Morgan TransMountain pipeline review has be criticized time and time again for failing to consider the climate impacts of the project. In fact, a whole suite of lawsuits from the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby, as well as some of the brave folks arrested on Burnaby Mountain, are challenging that omission. Referencing climate change, and it’s exclusion from the Kinder Morgan review, the lawyer for one of the groups sued by Kinder Morgan  cited the “life-and-death struggle for continued existence” was crucial in the context of the drama that heightened on the mountainside”. 

With over 50,000 messages already been sent to the National Energy Board demanding a climate review of Energy East and the events on Burnaby Mountain a clear statement about what happens when pipelines are forced through without it, the question now is what will Canada’s only federal regulatory body responsible for pipelines do? 

The new head of the National Energy Board, Peter Watson, has even acknowledged the lack of public faith in the NEB, and that the agency has lost the ability to grant fossil fuel projects social license. Without a mandate to review fossil fuel projects on their climate impacts the board has no legitimacy. Quebec and Ontario have both acknowledged this in mandating their own climate tests for Energy East, ending a bad week for TransCanada with a body blow to their own plan to end-run around the Keystone XL. 

Tar sands pipelines have massive carbon footprints, Energy East alone being the equivalent of adding 7 million cars to Canada’s roads, and the truth is that neither will pass a climate test. With one now mandated in Ontario and Quebec, it’s time to force one nationally. With Stephen Harper clearly in the pocket of big oil, it remains to be seen if opposition politicians like Thomas Mulcair or Justin Trudeau will step up and demand one, but even if they don’t, what’s happening on Burnaby Mountain is a clear message that the people will.

Send a message to demand a climate review of Energy East. 

Note: An earlier version of this blog and email blast incorrectly stated that drilling work on Burnaby Mountain had been stopped, apologies for any misrepresentations or confusion. 

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