Update: Standing up for Nature in the Salish Sea

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(Orca – Photo credit: Eileen Redding)

Nature Canada and BC Nature are standing up for nature as the National Energy Board (NEB) hearings on the TransMountain pipeline and tanker project draw nearer. The 1,180 TransMountain project would increase capacity from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels per day, and result in oil tankers moving almost daily through the Salish Sea past critical Important Bird Areas such as Boundary Bay.

On February 26, 2015, our lawyers at the UVic Environmental Law Centre (ELC) filed a motion with NEB to compel full and adequate responses by the proponent Kinder Morgan to our second request for information submitted in January 2015.  BC Nature and Nature Canada are arguing that Kinder Morgan did not respond adequately, for example, to our request for more information on the risk of harm to birds from an oil tanker spill and the resilience of bird populations to recover from an oil spill.  This is the second time that BC Nature and Nature Canada have asked the NEB to compel Kinder Morgan to answer questions about the impacts of the TransMountain project on nature; a similar, partially successful, motion was filed in July 2014.

According to Nature Canada’s lawyer Christopher Tollefson, these information requests are extremely important given that the NEB has taken the unprecedented decision to eliminate oral cross-examination from the hearing process.  BC Nature and Nature Canada have objected to the elimination of cross-examination on the grounds that this will seriously compromise the NEB’s ability to assess the evidence and determine whether or not the project is in the public interest.

The NEB hearings on the TransMountain project are now likely to occur in the summer and fall of 2015.

Thanks to your support, Nature Canada can continue to be a voice for nature on these oil pipeline and tanker projects.