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On Saturday, over 200 protestors gathered outside of the Kinder Morgan National Energy Board (NEB) hearings in Burnaby, B.C.
The environmental review hearings for the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline began on January 19, but members of the general public have not been allowed to attend.
"They call this a public hearing, but that's a misnomer," said Burnaby City Councillor Sav Dhaliwal. "There's no public in there. There isn't any. Public hearing without the public…concerned citizens are not allowed to go in there."
A joint project of the Wilderness Committee, 350.org, BROKE, Force of Nature and ForestEthics, the rally peacefully gathered citizens to continue the fight against Kinder Morgan's proposed pipeline that would expand the existing Trans Mountain pipeline system between Edmonton, A.B. and Burnaby, B.C.
Concerned citizens have been fighting the project from its infancy, such as during the research phase when over one hundred protestors were arrested at Burnaby Mountain in 2014 as they took a stand against the proposal.
"This is a continuation of what happened on Burnaby Mountain," said We Wai Kai Hereditary Chief Geh-Soh-Giliach. "When you take a stand as a group of people it does send an impact. It sends such a great, enormous impact."
The protestors also aimed to put pressure on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to keep his promise to overhaul the NEB's review process and to include climate change as an integral part of its procedure which it currently lacks.
"How can you have an environmental assessment that doesn't take the climate impacts of this pipeline into account?" said Peter McCartney, Wilderness Committee's Climate Campaigner. "If they introduce climate impacts, you know what they will find? There's no way we should build this pipeline."
While the Liberal government has announced that it will begin preparing "transition plans" for existing pipelines under review and strengthen NEB reviews, the current reviews for Kinder Morgan will continue to take place until January 29, after which they will conclude in Calgary from February 2 through February 5.
Alyse Kotyk is a Vancouver-based writer and editor with a passion for social justice and storytelling. She studied English Literature and Global Development at Queen's University and is excited by media that digs deep, asks questions and shares narratives. Alyse was the Editor of Servants Quarters and has written for the Queen's News Centre, Quietly Media and the Vancouver Observer. She is now rabble's News Intern.
Photos: Alyse Kotyk