Seven mayors issued the following joint declaration today (March 31):
Mayors’ Declaration on Kinder Morgan National Energy Process
On behalf of our municipalities and our citizens who face the risks of Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline, the undersigned mayors wish to declare our “Non-Confidence” in the current NEB process.
It has become apparent that the NEB process does not constitute a ‘public hearing’ and is completely inadequate to assess the health and safety risks of a proposed pipeline through major metropolitan areas, and the potential risks of shipping bitumen oil to Burnaby and through Burrard Inlet, the Salish Sea, and along the coastline of British Columbia.
We have serious concerns that the current NEB panel is neither independent from the oil industry proponents nor ready or able to assess the ‘public interest’ of British Columbians.
It is no longer a credible process from either a scientific evidentiary basis, nor from a public policy and public interest perspective.
This is not a ‘public hearing’. It has become apparent that the evidence presented by Kinder Morgan will never be tested by cross-examination. The second and final round of Intervenor Requests by written questions is nearing completion, and is proving to be inadequate. The proponent has failed to answer the majority of questions submitted by municipalities and other intervenors, and in IR round one the NEB panel has failed to require reasonable answers. Because of the inadequacies inherent to the review process, hundreds of questions critical to public safety and environmental impacts remain unanswered.
The loss of the standard Public Hearing from the application review process constitutes a significant erosion of the democratic rights of local governments, First Nations and citizens to cross-examine evidence presented, articulate concerns and voice opposition to applications.
The undersigned mayors therefore call on the federal government to put the current NEB process on hold until an adequate process is in place, and to call on the provincial and federal governments, through their appropriate and respective roles, to develop, in consultation with local governments, First Nations, and citizens, the restoration of a full Public Hearing process to be applied to the National Energy Board’s consideration of all applications for major industrial project proposals.
We also call upon the Government of British Columbia to re-assert its role in environmental assessment, and to establish a provincial process with proper public hearings to assess this very substantial private proposal.
Mayor Gregor Robertson,
City of Vancouver
Mayor Derek Corrigan,
City of Burnaby
Mayor Jonathan Coté,
City of New Westminster
Mayor Darrell Mussatto,
City of North Vancouver
Mayor Lisa Helps,
City of Victoria
Mayor Patricia Heintzman,
District of Squamish
Municipality of Bowen Island