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Ottawa, ON – More than 50 groups from across Canada have sent a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and Natural Resources Minister Carr urging the federal government to overhaul the National Energy Board (NEB) before, not after, it decides how to proceed with the two proposed oil pipelines. The groups include 26 participants in the Energy East pipeline process, as well as intervenors from the Kinder Morgan pipeline review.

“Firing a couple of conflict-of-interest tainted appointees and rescheduling a hearing is not going to fix the broken and discredited NEB,” said Patrick DeRochie, Climate and Energy Program Manager at Environmental Defence. “It’s time for the federal government to pull the plug on the Energy East pipeline review and overhaul the NEB.”

[Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau: English | French]

The letter points out that the NEB’s problems go beyond its board members’ inappropriate meeting with former premier Jean Charest. The Board has been widely criticized for its political appointees, conflict of interest allegations, shutting out public and Indigenous voices, and a weak record on pipeline safety, monitoring, reporting and compliance. The NEB suffers from so many shortcomings that the institution fundamentally lacks legitimacy.

“Local communities, First Nations, scientists and others need to be listened to, but there is no faith in the NEB process, which only continues to send the message that Canada’s energy future remains in incapable, ineffective hands” said Daniel Cayley-Daoust of the Council of Canadians.

Prime Minister Trudeau has acknowledged that the National Energy Board needs to be revamped for its decisions to be trusted as fair and impartial. However, prior to this overhaul, the federal government is allowing the NEB to review two major proposed oil pipeline projects. Opposition to Energy East is strong and growing across Canada, especially in Quebec. More than half of Quebec’s population and 300 Quebec municipalities, including the Montreal Metropolitan Community, representing 3.8 million residents, are opposed to Energy East along with the Assembly of First Nations in Quebec and Labrador.

Meanwhile, in British Columbia, 91 per cent of the presenters at the Kinder Morgan public meetings said no to the pipeline expansion, while 17 First Nations and 21 municipalities, including the mayors of the largest cities in B.C., are opposed to the proposal.

“The new federal government put in place a rushed, last minute band-aid process on Kinder Morgan, to make up what they themselves noted were serious flaws in the NEB process. The Kinder Morgan process should be put on hold until the broken NEB has been fixed; until that happens no fair decision can be made,” said Karen Mahon, National Director at Stand.

About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.

About COUNCIL OF CANADIANS (canadians.org): Founded in 1985, the Council of Canadians is Canada’s leading social action organization, mobilizing a network of 60 chapters across the country. Through our campaigns we advocate for clean water, fair trade, green energy, public health care, and a vibrant democracy. We educate and empower people to hold our governments and corporations accountable.

About STAND (stand.earth): Stand is working to create a world where respect for people and the environment comes first. We’re doing that by challenging corporations and governments to treat people and the environment with respect — because all our lives depend on it.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Tim Ehlich, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext 223; 647-468-3641 (cell); tehlich@environmentaldefence.ca

Daniel Cayley-Daoust, Council of Canadians, (613) 233-4487 ext 240; 819-593-4579 (cell); ddaoust@canadians.org

Karen Mahon, Stand, 604-836-599; karen@stand.earth