Protesters Arrested in Vancouver at Enbridge Pipeline Hearing

by Antonio Pasolini on January 16, 2013

Photo: Maryam Adrangi, Handout

Six people yesterday were arrested during a protest at the Enbridge pipeline joint Environmental Assessment and Energy Board hearings. They were taken to a police station, charged and then released. The group managed to make their way past police undetected and into the secured 4th floor of Vancouver’s Sheraton Wall Center. Once inside they revealed shirts emblazoned with messages like “Stop The Pipelines” and proceeded to use police tape to cordon off the hearing area as a “climate crime scene”.

It was the second day of the Joint Review Panel hearings in Vancouver and the second day that the members of the public crossed police lines to make their opposition heard. On Monday more than a thousand protesters peacefully forced their way past police onto the Sheraton property drumming so loudly the noise could be heard inside the hearings.

Public outrage has been emboldened by a decision to exclude the public from the hearings in Vancouver, a move the BC Civil Liberties Association criticized as “potentially unlawful”.

Climate change is killing thousands of people every year, primarily in developing countries and Indigenous communities that are the least responsible for creating this problem. Despite this fact, the Joint Review Panel has instructed those participating in the hearings not to talk about climate change.

This is a shockingly irresponsible move considering Canada’s tar sands contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history. New fossil fuel pipelines are an irresponsible step in the wrong direction,” said Sean Devlin.

“The majority of First Nations and settler communities in the province oppose fossil fuel pipelines. We respect those who are voicing their opposition to the pipelines inside the hearings, but the hearing process is meaningless, especially since Harper has changed the law, giving his cabinet final say on pipeline projects,” added Fiona De Balasi Brown.

2012 was the year when even the most skeptic climate deniers have to throw the towel and admit that Hurricane Sandy and deadly typhoons in the Philippines are the consequence of manmade climate change. Fuel from Canada’s tar sands is much more poisonous than conventional fossil. NASA scientist James Hansen said that if the U.S. approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, linking extraction operations in Canada to refineries along the Gulf Coast, it would mean time over for climate.

Dirty fuel is not what our officials should be supporting. We need to move towards alternative energy as part of the shift towards a post-carbon, sustainable global economy.

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