rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Ontario Energy Board announces first round of consultations on Energy East pipeline

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has announced the first round of consultations on the potential impacts of Energy East pipeline in Ontario.

Described as a 'series of interactive discussions' along the route, local residents and groups are encouraged to attend:

-  Kenora, March 25

-  Thunder Bay March 26

-  Kapuskasing  March 31

-  North Bay April 2

-  Timmins April 1

-  Stittsville April 7

-  Cornwall April 8

Consultation format:

Discussion guides will be distributed by facilitators that are intended to provide objectives of the process, a summary of information, and encourage the views and perspectives of participants to emerge through a series of focus questions.

Written submissions:

There will be two opportunities for written submissions, dates are pending, but the first round is likely to start in late March/April. The Council of Canadians is preparing a report that will focus on threats to water in Ontario and growing dependency on fracked gas imports.

Province-wide stakeholder forum:

I recently reported on my experience at the first stakeholder forum that brought together representatives of a variety of sectors, from industry, to agriculture to environmental organizations. Between the first and second consultations there will be another session where stakeholders can make presentations to the OEB. This session will be open to public attendance.

Outcome:

Facilitators hired by the OEB will compile a report summarizing the perspectives raised during the community consultations. This report, as well as the technical reports the OEB is commissioning, and the stakeholder process, will inform the second part of the consultation process. This second round of talks will seek input on a draft OEB report on the implications of the pipeline, as will the second round of written submissions.

The final outcome of this entire process is to inform the Ontario government's position for the pending National Energy Board's hearings on Energy East. The OEB itself does not have final say on the pipeline, technically this is the decision of the federal government informed by the NEB -- but I would argue it is in the hands of affected Indigenous communities with distinct legal rights and social movements with the capacity to make this project politically impossible to push through.

The significance of the OEB process is the potential to have the provincial government stand up for Ontarians interests by clearly outlining and ultimately rejecting the risks of this pipeline, this would be an important political statement helping the campaign to stop this pipeline.

The Council of Canadians will continue to participate in, and report on this process including highlighting how you can participate. You can also visit the OEB's Energy East website for more information.

ONTARIO TOUR: Energy East: Our Risk - Their Reward

From April 7-16, the Council of Canadians, with local partners, will be visiting six communities across Ontario to talk about the Energy East pipeline. The tour will feature Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow, Eriel Deranger of the Athabasca Fort Chipewyan First Nation, a local speaker, and a video presentation about the diluted bitumen pipeline spill in Kalamazoo, Michigan. We will distribute 'Our Risk, Their Reward,' window signs and encourage broader participation in the second round of OEB public consultations.

Tour dates

April 7 - Kenora
April 9 - Thunder Bay
April 12 - North Bay
April 13 - Ottawa
April 15 - Kemptville
April 16 - Cornwall

The admission to these events is free. To RSVP on Facebook please click here.

Background information:

Ontario is a key battleground for the TransCanada's Energy East pipeline.

The conversion of an existing gas pipeline, which would transport oil across major waterways in Ontario, raises heightened concerns about the potential for a major spill or rupture.

Diluted bitumen produced in the tar sands is unlike conventional oil ­-- a spill would have devastating environmental impacts that are nearly impossible to clean up as seen with the Enbridge pipeline spill in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

The pipeline would result in more than 650,000 barrels per day of additional tar sands production, which means even more toxic exposure for downstream communities.

The increased production would also generate up to 32 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year -- equivalent to the annual emissions of all the cars in Ontario

The vast majority of the tar sands oil that will be pumped through the Energy East pipeline will be exported. We get all the risk, they get all the reward.

Thank you for reading this story...

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all. But media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our only supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help.

If everyone who visits rabble and likes it chipped in a couple of dollars per month, our future would be much more secure and we could do much more: like the things our readers tell us they want to see more of: more staff reporters and more work to complete the upgrade of our website.

We’re asking if you could make a donation, right now, to set rabble on solid footing.

Make a donation.Become a monthly supporter.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.