Monday, May 25, 2015

Enbridge and the National Energy Board Push To Open Line 9 Ahead of Legal Challenge by Indigenous Community

If Enbridge has their way, diluted tar sands bitumen and fracked oil will start flowing eastward through their Line 9 pipeline as early as June 1st. Yet on June 16th the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation's legal challenge to the National Energy Board's decision on the pipeline project will be heard in front of a federal appeal court in Toronto. The Anishinaabe community is opposing Enbridge's project at its base because, they argue, they were not consulted, as is their right and as is the duty of the Canadian government. Their legal challenge is one of many forms that opposition to Line 9 has taken, and it foregrounds the key messages of the opposition: Indigenous nations were not properly consulted, and the pipeline poses a grave threat to the environment.
The prospect of the line being turned on while Chippewas of the Thames First Nation (COTTFN) is still objecting due to lack of consultation does not sit well with the community. On May 21st lawyers for the COTTFN filed an application with the NEB to stay the final Line 9 decision pending the results of their appeal. While affirming their opposition to Line 9 through the courts, their resistance is grounded in traditional knowledge and responsibilities, as band councillor Myeengun Henry explains, "[we] know it is our obligation to protect the land, the environment... our spiritual connection is strong in our community and [we] are strongly opposing this project."

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