Protesters, including a woman whose family insists their farm has been affected by the oil and gas industry, protested against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion outside the National Energy Board (NEB) building in downtown Calgary on Feb. 2.
Calgarian Aiyana Lauridsen’s family was showcased in Burning Water, a documentary about a farm family whose water supply has become flammable, which they believe is due to the oil and gas boom that has brought record-breaking profits to Alberta.
“I think it’s really important that people come out and make their presence known when they’re opposed to an issue,” she said. “I think the most critical issue is the fact that our regulators are not doing their job.
“It’s really important to be here today and let the NEB know that we don’t accept their faulty process.”
Matt Hammer, coordinator of the Calgary Climate Action Network, said the federal government’s pipeline approval process is still broken, despite the changes that have been made.
“It doesn’t go far enough to consider First Nations issues,” he said. “It doesn’t go far enough to consider climate change. We need to invest in renewables, not double down on the fossil fuel economy of the past.”
Hammer supports renewable resources, saying the public is becoming aware of a sustainable future in renewable energy.
“I think that a lot of people are beginning to realize that the boom and bust of the fossil fuel economy has only served us so well,” he said, “and that we need to start investing in a long-term economy that will provide prosperity for generations to come.
“I think things are shifting.”
The 1,150-kilometre pipeline has been in use since 1953, moving product from the Alberta oil sands. American firm Kinder Morgan applied in late 2013 to expand the pipeline to enable to connect Strathcona County, Alberta to Burnaby B.C.
The NEB is currently hearing oral summary arguments from interveners.
“We do respect the right of the public to protest peacefully and this hearing has been high-profile, like many NEB hearings, and we’ve seen a lot of passionate views on it,” NEB senior communications adviser Tara O’Donovan said of the protest.
“This is their opportunity to highlight the views that they want the panel to consider when they make their recommendations.
The NEB will make their recommendations by May 20, and then it will be up to the federal government to accept or reject the project.