Only 30 days to have your say on Energy East oil pipeline!

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This might sound a bit silly, but yes, folks, you have to apply to have your say about the Energy East oil pipeline proposal! Even if you just want to write a letter outlining your concerns about the project, you still have to apply for permission.

And now is the time to apply!

Today — Feb. 3, 2015 — the application process for participating in the National Energy Board’s review of TransCanada’s Energy East oil pipeline opened. The timer is ticking! You have only 30 days to apply for permission to either speak at the hearing or write a letter for consideration during the energy board’s review. The application process will close on March 3 at 3:00 pm (Atlantic Standard Time).nbmap

You can apply by creating a log-in account here. If you want some help wading through this, we’re here for you! Contact tracy.glynn@conservationcouncil.ca or 506 458-8747.

Who can apply?
New federal government rules say only people directly affected by a project or those who have relevant information or expertise about the impact of a project can participate in the NEB hearing. The new rules stifle public input, but there are still lots of ways that YOU have relevant information or expertise to share:

Portrait-of-happy-family-lying cutyDo you own a home or parcel of land near the proposed route? You can tell the NEB how an oil slick isn’t exactly what you were thinking when you bought the kids a slip-n-slide for the yard.

Do you hunt or fish near the pipeline route? You can explain to the NEB why you’re worried the mighty Atlantic salmon just won’t have the same fight in her when she’s bogged down in thick, gooey bitumen.

Are you a tourism operator in the Bay of Fundy? You can explain to the NEB why you don’t think the World’s Highest Tides would look as nice if they revealed a seafloor of little tiny tarballs, or how uneasy you feel about the idea of increased tanker traffic on a collision course with the Bay’s majestic Right Whale.

Alma_Brooks_Liane_ThibodeauAre you a First Nation person? You can describe how unfair and difficult it will be to use the land for its traditional, cultural purpose when there is the scourge of a massive steel cylinder cutting straight through it.

Are you a doctor or nurse? You can tell the NEB how your office will be overrun by new patients suffering the negative health effects of stress caused by sleepless nights and anxiety-filled days as they worry over the inevitable oil spills that will forever change the face of the province!

But in all seriousness, folks, it is critical that New Brunswickers tell the NEB what they think of this pipeline project. We need to stand up together for our water, whales and the Bay of Fundy!

We can help you get involved. The Conservation Council of New Brunswick is offering some resources to make it easier for you to apply:

  • We can provide you with help hosting an application party for your friends and neighbours.
  • Watch and share our video that explains how to apply
  • Call our office if you need help completing the application, or call us just to get started. One of our friendly staff will walk you through it! (506-458-8747)

List of issues NEB is considering
In your application to participate, you have to talk about things related to the list of issues the NEB is considering for this project. Those issues are: economic feasibility, environmental and socio-economic impacts, potential pipeline spills, impacts on Aboriginal interest, environmental and socio-economic effects of increased marine shipping, and impacts on landowners and land-use. Basically, all the stuff we talked about earlier in this email. What the NEB is not considering, however, are important ‘upstream’ impacts such as tar sands development, nor ‘downstream impacts’ including climate change. Seems like a bit of an oversight to leave those things out, but, if you are planning to apply for funding or to participate in the NEB hearing, your input must be related to the NEB’s list of issues.

Why is your voice so important?
This is the first oil pipeline to be built through the length of our province, snaking its way across hundreds of acres of farmland and woodlots. Its route crosses vital rivers, lakes and streams such as the St. John, Miramichi, Tobique, Salmon, and Madawaska rivers, Coal Creek, which drains into Grand Lake, and ends right beside the iconic Bay of Fundy, putting thousands of jobs and livelihoods at risk.

The endangered Right Whale is one species threatened by the risk of increased tanker traffic and oil spills in the Bay of Fundy.

The endangered Right Whale is one species threatened by the risk of increased tanker traffic and oil spills in the Bay of Fundy.

Your participation is even more important due to changes introduced by the federal government in 2012 about how these types of projects are reviewed. Public input to environmental assessment was restricted, environmental laws were weakened, and now pipelines crossing provincial borders only have to be evaluated by the National Energy Board, not by our own provincial Department of Environment. These changes stifle important public concerns that must be heard and your voice is needed now more than ever before!

Please share this update far and wide, especially with your family, friends, neighbours and folks you think would be eligible to participate in the NEB hearing. We need as many New Brunswickers involved in this process as possible in order to protect our water, whales and the beautiful Bay of Fundy!

Please apply today!

For more information or assistance in filling out the NEB application, contact Tracy at tracy.glynn@conservationcouncil.ca or 506 458-8747, or fill out this simple form on our website, and we’ll be in touch.