Activists in Canada protest scheme to pipe tar sands oil to east coast

By Tim Groves / Toronto Media Co-op

Environmental justice protestors temporarily shut down a hearing into a proposal to have tar sand oil piped through Ontario. The hearing took place place in London, Ontario, on Wednesday.

The three day hearing, held by the National Energy Board (NEB), is examining a proposal by Enbridge to reverse the flow of an existing pipeline (Line 9), which currently carries imported overseas oil west. Enbridge wants to instead use the pipeline to bring tar sands oil east. This oil may then be exported to Europe.

After entering the hearing, protestors employed the People’s Mic, where the crowd would echo back whatever was said by a spokesperson in order to project their voices. After a few minutes of the People’s Mic commencing, most other attendees at the hearing exited the room. The NEB hearing was shut down for approximately an hour.

 The spokesperson who led the Peoples Mic was arrested and then removed from the room. She was later released with a ticket for trespass.

The protestors raised concerns about the environmental impacts of the Alberta tar sands, the possibility of a spill in Ontario and the lack of prior and informed consent being sought from First Nations in Ontario.

“Six Nations rights already have been violated in this review process,” stated Wes Elliot, a resident of Six Nations in a press release. “Free, prior, and informed consent is not a factor in these hearings.”

Line 9 cuts through the Haldimand Tract, land which was deeded to Six Nations in 1784.

“We also must object to the illegitimate and anti-democratic conduct of the officials who are fast-tracking this review,” said Elliot in the release.

Following the protest, demonstrators held what they dubbed an unofficial “People’s Hearing on the Tar Sands Pipeline.”

“The current framework of the National Energy Board hearings does not allow us to draw connections between tar sands extraction, toxic refineries and upgraders, and various other downstream consequences,” said Taylor Flook a member of Occupy Toronto who attended the event in London. “The People’s Hearing was arranged as a more open forum, where anyone can share any of their concerns about relevant issues.”

“The tar sands industry is attempting to build as many pipelines as they can,” said Flook. “We should not accept the fast-tracking of these projects,” she said. “No tar sands operations should proceed without the consent of everyone who may be impacted.”

As the extraction of tar sands from Alberta has increased, a series of new pipeline projects have emerged to bring the dirty oil to refineries and ports across Canada and the US.

The Harper government has loudly endorsed these projects. But following a series of protests against TransCanada’s XL pipeline, which would send tar sands oil south, President Obama delayed approval for a section of the project that goes through the United States until after US elections, which will take place in November.

Opposition by First Nations and environmentalists to Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, which would bring oil from Alberta to the BC coast for shipment overseas, has garnered attention across Canada.

Protestors worry the Line 9 Reversal could be rushed through before there is time to build awareness and opposition to the pipeline. But they say many of the concerns with the Northern Gateway Pipeline also apply to the Line 9 reversal.

The Line 9 approval process is taking place in two phases. The London hearing deals with bringing oil from Sarnia, Ontario, to Westover, Ontario. The second phase regards oil transport from Westover to Montreal, Quebec.

From The Dominion:

0 thoughts on “Activists in Canada protest scheme to pipe tar sands oil to east coast”

  1. Quoting the above article:”Line 9 cuts through the Haldimand Tract,land which was deeded to Six Nations in 1784″. That never happened-anyone using “Haldimand Tract” as the basis of argument concedes ignorance of documented history.The Haldimand Proclamation never had the force of law, was geographically incorrect and lacked the Seal of his Office, and not surveyed. Governor Simcoe corrected this by repurchase of the area, At no time was any land “deeded” to the Six Nations.Any land that had been designated for the Six Nations occupancy ,could not be severed from the land designated for Six Nation occupancy without their permission.Our Courts had consistently ruled that to be “Reservation” Land , it must be Crown Land with an right of Occupancy by the Six Nations. Your hurt your credibility and argument of your position by dragging out that well proven incorrect stance. I and a few million other Canadians own land of the Simcoe purchase, for which our ancestor had to apply for Crown Grant. My family lines are recorded being in Niagara by 1781- a few years ahead of the Six Nations. Remember in 1696 the Six Nations were driven out of Niagara by the tribes from whom Simcoe purchased Niagara to the Thames River.

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