National Energy Board refuses to consider climate impacts of Trans Mountain Pipeline
February 19, 2019
Decision on motion filed by Stand.earth means federal government won’t give pipeline project a full assessment of climate impacts
Unceded Coast Salish Territories (VANCOUVER, BC) — The National Energy Board announced today it has refused Stand.earth’s motion to consider the upstream and downstream climate emissions of the Trans Mountain Pipeline.
Stand.earth argued the NEB should conduct an assessment of the project’s full climate impacts similar to the Board’s assessment on the Energy East Pipeline, arguing the federal government knows more about the dangers of climate change than it did four years ago during the project’s original assessment.
The NEB opted throughout the original review process to avoid considering the project’s full climate impacts, but could have addressed upstream and downstream climate impacts during the reconsideration process. The NEB faces a February 22 deadline to complete its second review of the pipeline after the Federal Court of Appeal quashed permits for the project and suspended construction in August 2018.
The decision breaks an election pledge made in 2015 by the Liberals to give all energy projects a full climate review.
“When he thought it would get him elected, Trudeau promised climate reviews for all major infrastructure projects. This pipeline didn’t get a climate review for two reasons. First, the math simply doesn’t add up — we can’t build it and meet Canada’s climate goals. Second, the oil industry doesn’t want a climate review. From the buyout to the restrictions in the NEB process, Trudeau is being led around by the oil industry like a show pony,” said Sven Biggs, Climate & Energy Campaigner at Stand.earth.
“The National Energy Board has denied this motion because the Trudeau government specifically excluded climate change impacts from a full review of this pipeline. The federal government says it is a climate champion, but it won’t review climate impacts and it is desperate to build more fossil fuel infrastructure. This decision exposes the federal government’s climate change agenda as political and not based on science,” said Tzeporah Berman, International Program Director at Stand.earth.
Of the 90 intervenors who are part of the reconsideration process, 20 intervenors — including the City of Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, Green Party leader Elizabeth May, NDP MP Peter Julian, the Shxw’ōwhámel First Nation, Nooaitch Indian Band, Heiltsuk First Nation, Adams Lake Indian Band, Malahat First Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and ten other environmental and community groups — filed letters in support of Stand.earth’s motion.
Stand.earth submitted nearly 70 pages of evidence as part of its motion, including the recent report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that says the world has just 12 years to reduce emissions by 45% from 2010 levels to keep warming below 1.5C and avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Climate scientists who supported the motion argued that the expansion of Canada’s tar sands industry is inconsistent with the IPCC’s climate goals.
“It’s disappointing that this motion was denied because in our recent IPCC report, we showed very clearly that if we are going to ensure the world stays below 1.5C of warming, no further expansion of the oil industry or new oil infrastructure is possible. We must ensure emissions go down significantly over the next decade starting now,” said Dr. Kirsten Zickfeld, a Simon Fraser University Department of Geography associate professor of climate science and lead author of the recent UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change special report, who attended a press conference on the motion.