November 10th, 2014

Ontario should follow Quebec’s lead and conduct provincial environmental assessment of Energy East: NDP MPP Tabuns

TORONTO — NDP Energy critic Peter Tabuns praised last week’s unanimous decision of the Quebec National Assembly to demand a provincial environmental assessment of the proposed Energy East oil pipeline project, and urged the Ontario government to follow Quebec’s lead.

“The Quebec National Assembly has unanimously acknowledged what the Ontario NDP has been saying for a long time: the federal environmental assessment system is broken, and the provincial government needs to fill this vacuum,” said Tabuns, MPP for Toronto-Danforth. “The province must conduct an environmental assessment of risky oil pipeline projects like Energy East and Line 9.”

Last week’s motion, unanimously supported by the Quebec National Assembly, criticized the federal government’s new environmental assessment system, which prevents the National Energy Board from considering many environmental impacts of the proposed Energy East pipeline, such as the effects on climate change. The motion also criticized the federal government’s failure to regulate carbon emissions from the oil and gas sector.

“If the federal government won’t protect the public interest, then the province needs to step in,” said Tabuns. “But so far, when it comes to oil pipelines, if it’s good enough for Stephen Harper, then it’s good enough for the Liberal government. But it’s not good enough for the NDP, and it’s not good enough for the people of Ontario.”

Last month, Tabuns blasted the “culture of impunity” developing within Canada’s oil and gas sector, after Enbridge balked at conditions of its Line 9 pipeline approval requiring it to install emergency shut-off valves to limit the damage from oil spills into drinking water sources. In addition to conducting a provincial environmental assessment of pipeline projects, Tabuns urged the Ontario government to regulate pipelines under the Clean Water Act.