Oka, Quebec, Mohawk Territory, November 18, 2016 – Women concerned about the threat to potable water are currently blocking access to a valve on a pipeline that has been condemned by two dissenting members of the National Energy Board (NEB). The women demand an immediate closure of the Trans-Northern Pipeline Inc. (TPNI), which crosses through Oka National Park and threatens the water supply of millions of people.
“The urgency of this issue has forced us to take serious action. We are using peaceful civil disobedience to draw attention to a vital resource that everyone needs: water!” asserted Jeanne Beauchamp, spokesperson of the group. “We demand that our government and the company shut down this pipeline. The Trans-Northern pipeline crosses multiple crucial waterways, including the Ottawa River, and threatens the security of over three million people in greater Montreal.”
Last September, two commissioners submitted a dissident report criticizing the security of the pipeline due to repeated incidents of excessive pressure and failure to conform to the National Energy Board’s conditions over the past six years. “Despite concerns from NEB members, nothing has changed,” added Ms. Beauchamp.
In their report advocating the suspension of the operating permit, dissenting commissioners Ballem and Richmond highlighted that, “The TPNI has had six years to conform to numerous security conditions required by the NEB, but has failed to satisfy them.” Additionally, the NEB has not been in a position to enforce these conditions since 2010. According to the commissioners, “The current operations of the TPNI do not respect the requirements outlined in NEB regulations regarding land-based pipelines or bylaw CSA Z662-15.”
Marie-Josée Béliveau, another spokesperson adds, “Seeing as excessive pressure makes this pipeline vulnerable to explosions and spills, and taking into account all of the imaginable consequences on ecosystems and urban centres crossed by this pipeline, we demand that the National Energy Board (NEB) immediately suspend the operating permits of the TPNI pipeline. Our government and the Montreal Metropolitan Community (MMC) must also take urgent action for the security of the people!”
The women of this action drew their inspiration from the water protectors in Standing Rock, North Dakota. People are currently gathered there to denounce a pipeline project that could affect Sioux territory. “We stand in solidarity with the First Nations of Standing Rock. We condemn the impact of pipelines on our natural resources and natural wealth, such as the beauty we find here in Oka National Park – the most-visited park of Quebec. Water, biodiversity and our climate are much more important than the passage of a crumbling and dangerous pipeline!” concludes Jeanne Beauchamp.