Wednesday April 23, 2014





Protesters take fight to Enbridge

'There will always be objections,' Kamloops environmentalists say

Kamloops resident Heather Campbell (left) joins other protesters from around the region during the Canadian Environmental Agency's Enbridge joint review panel public hearings in Kelowna on Tuesday.

Hearings into the Enbridge pipeline proposal travelled to Vancouver on Wednesday, drawing protesters along with them.

Several Kamloops environmentalists will keep up the fight against the controversial ­­­pipeline project that would link Edmonton to Kitimat and carry an average of 525,000 barrels of petroleum per day.

"As long as they're pushing forward and even if they're developing, (protests) are still going to happen," said Lenora Starr. "People aren't going to sit back quietly and go 'OK, well I guess it's going through.' There will always be objections."

Starr and her group travelled to Kelowna earlier this week to attend the Canadian Environmental Agency's Enbridge review panel public hearings.

She joined hundreds of other protestors, some linked to the Idle No More movement, others part of a busload of opponents from the Kootenays, all drumming, chanting or carrying signs.

"We just felt it was important to show that there were also people from Kamloops," said Anne Grube, whose sign declared her to be from Kamloops. "It's good to know there's opposition from all quarters."

Carole Hebden, who carpooled with Grube, said the development of the oilsands as a major economic thrust for Canada is the wrong way to go.

"We need to be developing alternatives, more sustainable energy sources," she said.

Anita Strong, a Kamloops chapter Council of Canadians organizer, also wanted to voice her opposition. She had applied to tell the panel the proposal should be rejected on the basis of worsening climate change.

But her application was turned down since her concerns weren't viewed as directly impacting her.

Strong wasn't the only one who couldn't get in the room.

Panel members Sheila Leggett, Kenneth Bateman and Hans Matthews unexpectedly closed the hearings to the public for safety reasons.

The decision didn't sit well with protestors.

"It's like they're trying to ignore the reality of people that are protesting and turning a blind eye to it in hopes of just pushing through and moving forward," said Starr.

A live stream broadcast of the hearings to a hotel conference room about a kilometre away allowed Grube to hear two "extremely well-spoken" opponents — one a biologist and the other a former B.C. government environmental assessment staffer.

"I don't know how the panel could not be impressed by what they had to say," she said.


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