rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

National Energy Board's 'List of Issues' in Line 9B hearings excludes important issues

Hearings for the proposed Line 9B pipeline reversal will be happening this summer and the National Energy Board has released a draft "List of Issues" which it will be considering during the hearings. We found that this "List of Issues" was shortsighted and negligent.

We proposed amendments on some of the following points:

Consultation with Aboriginal groups and the potential impacts of the proposed Project on Aboriginal interests.

We think the NEB should amend its List of Issues from considering "Consultation with Aboriginal groups," to "Consent from Aboriginal groups." The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which Canada endorsed in 2010, outlines the need for Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) for all industrial activity happening on Indigenous lands. This means that Indigenous peoples have the right to make decisions and to say "no" (Consent) to activities happening on their land, free from coercion (Free), before it happens (Prior) and with full information (Informed).

The Board will not consider the environmental and socio-economic effects associated with upstream activities, the development of oil sands, or the downstream use of the oil transported by the pipeline.

This means that the Board will not be looking into the activities related with heavy crude extraction (upstream) or with upgrading, refining, transporting and shipping (downstream). But if the NEB does not do it, who will? The NEB is the only decision-making entity examining impacts, and a decision-maker must look at all the facts before deciding how to proceed. If the NEB refuses to consider these issues, it is fettering its discretion.

Additionally, if the NEB ignores upstream and downstream impacts of Line 9B, this may set a precedent for future pipeline project proposals in which fossil fuel transport companies can avoid a full impact assessment by dividing up the pipeline and refusing to address concerns that happen at either end of the pipe. Essentially, any pipeline system could be cut into small pieces and proposed to the NEB which would only look at impacts of the specific pipe.

This reduces the NEB's credibility in meaningfully assessing national energy infrastructure. The NEB must ensure a full impact assessment complete with public participation and consideration of the social and economic impacts of the entire project from extraction, transportation, upgrading, and refining if it is to properly assess whether or not this project should be approved.

For the full letter, click here.

For the full copy of the Hearing Order is available here and includes the "List of Issues," and more information about the National Energy Board process.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.