Mayor Gregor Robertson will be introducing a motion on notice at this week’s Council meeting for the City to ask Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Federal Government to guarantee open public hearings and cross-examination of witnesses at the National Energy Board’s upcoming review of the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion.
This motion follows a letter sent last week from the City of Vancouver to the NEB, in support of Intervenor Robyn Allan’s motion to amend the Hearing Order to include oral cross-examination of all witnesses on their evidence by Intervenors, the NEB, and Trans Mountain, if they choose do so. The ability to cross-examine all witnesses was part of the Northern Gateway review process, but is not part of the Trans Mountain Pipeline review.
“Vancouver has substantial concerns to express about the enormous risks posed to our local economy and environment by a seven-fold increase in oil tanker traffic in and around Vancouver’s harbour,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “The National Energy Board’s review process must guarantee a thorough, inclusive, and open hearing of input from all stakeholders. It’s clear to me that the current process will preclude important evidence from being examined and prevent far too many voices from exercising their right to be heard.”
Earlier this month the NEB accepted the City of Vancouver’s request to intervene in hearings on the proposed pipeline expansion, a request that was first initiated after a City staff report in December 2013 on the Kinder Morgan proposal’s risks to Vancouver’s robust local economy and natural environment.
Ms. Allan’s Notice of Motion to the NEB highlights that under the current process the Trans Mountain Expansion project will be the first NEB public hearing on an oil pipeline undergoing an environmental assessment that will not include the cross-examination of witnesses – an even lower standard than hearings for the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.
"Why is it that residents in BC's north had the opportunity to take part in the Northern Gateway hearings, but when it comes to a pipeline in our own backyard, the Lower Mainland is shut out?" added the Mayor. "It is these decisions by the NEB to sideline public input that foster distrust and undercut the entire review process."
The Mayor's motion will be introduced at City Council this Tuesday, and debated at the following Council meeting on May 13th.
For the City of Vancouver staff presentation on risks posed by the proposed pipeline expansion, click here: