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Protestors storm Energy East pipeline hearing

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World Pipelines,

On Monday 29 August, TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline hearing in Montreal (Canada) was quickly cancelled after protesters made their way into the board room, forcing the National Energy Board (NEB) commissioners to leave.

The CAN$15.7 billion proposed 4600 km pipeline will transport 1.1 million bpd of oil from the Alberta oilsands and Saskatchewan, to Canada’s east coast.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, who was set to address the panel first, described the meeting as a ‘circus’.

Jim Carr, Federal Natural Resources Minister, apologised on behalf of the review process, stating: "Whatever their point of view might be, we think they should all have a right to say it. And if there were circumstances that didn't allow people to speak on a very important national subject, I'm sorry about that."

Later on in the day, the NEB issued a statement, explaining that the hearings on 30 August would be postponed too.

NEB Director, Jean-Denis Charlebois, announced: “In light of this morning’s events, we have no choice but to cancel today’s hearings. We want to ensure that we can proceed in an efficient manner, but most importantly in a safe manner for everyone involved.”

The NEB statement released also noted: "Our first priority at any hearing is always the safety of all participants, including the public, our staff and our board members. Our goal for the panel sessions was to provide an opportunity for intervenors to ask questions about the Energy East application and share what matters most to them in a respectful, courteous and safe environment. Unfortunately, that is not what happened today. Disruptions, such as those that occurred this morning, prevent intervenors from sharing their views and asking their questions."

Nevertheless, Duane Bratt, Political Scientist at Mount Royal University, believes people will cast a decision on the pipeline depending on whether the individual’s region falls within the oil industry or not.

“Some people are saying, ‘look we support the pipeline just build it somewhere else’. You also have groups who say, ‘we don’t want any pipeline built anywhere because we want to shut down the oilsands’. [Yet, Parliament will] have to make a call, and whatever decision they make is going to upset a certain group of people,” Bratt says.

The hearings are scheduled to finish in December 2016, and the NEB is expected to submit its report by March 2017.

Edited from various sources by Stephanie Roker

Sources: CTV News Calgary, Oil Price, CBC News, Montreal Gazette, BNN

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