The National Energy Board is the primary official way for citizens and organizations to participate in decision making about pipelines and other resource extraction projects. MEJC applied to participate as an Intervenor, the most effective designation for participants. We were not accepted as Intervenors and were instead downgraded to Commenter status. The denial of Intervenor status means that we do not have a strong voice in the NEB process, cannot effectively contribute our knowledge, and cannot voice our concerns within that process.
An Intervenor can:
- ask for more information (Information Request – IR) on any related topic;
- file written evidence;
- ask questions during the hearing;
- provide final arguments;
As a Commenter, MEJC is very limited. A Commenter can:
- provide written views on the proposed project in a Letter of Comment;
- include information supporting the views such as maps or photographs;
- comment on proposed terms or conditions that the Board should recommend be added if the project is approved;
- observe and monitor the hearing through the Board’s public registry and hearing broadcasts;
“A Commenter is not considered a Party (Intervenor or Company) to the hearing, cannot ask information requests or cross-examine other Parties, and cannot provide final argument.”
While Intervenors can apply for Participant Funding from the NEB so that they are better able to do a thorough job of presenting concerns, Commenters are not eligible for Participant Funding.
A venue for pipeline project review that excludes an organization created specifically to address the problems of the Energy East pipeline is an inadequate and undemocratic venue that does not serve Canadians well.
However, official processes are only one means of influencing outcomes. The ongoing exclusion of citizens from decision making for our future must be changed, and public engagement is a powerful tool in making change. MEJC will continue to work towards creating a system that fully includes all Canadians in making better choices for a clean, sustainable future.
Are you inspired to help reach out, educate, and share your concerns? Please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll show you how you can fully participate here in Manitoba!