A new documentary film titled Directly Affected targets Kinder Morgan's proposed Trans Mountain pipeline and features B.C. residents who argue they will be the losers if the project proceeds. Image Credit: Facebook.Com/Directlyaffected
The 22-minute film records voices of people who may not have been approved as intervenors by the National Energy Board for being "directly affected" by the proposed pipeline expansion for export-only bitumen.
The locals wanted to talk about what they see as the risk to aquifers, and to their way of life, to the mighty Fraser River, and its many species of salmon.
For whatever reason they did not obtain intervenor status at the NEB level, and therefore their testimony is missing in the process.
"With changes made to the regulatory environment around hearings, it led to a narrow definition by the NEB of who will be 'directly affected.'
"In a democratic society, we need processes in place that support and listen to multiple perspectives," said Embree. "We also needed to take this issue into the public sphere and ask if this path is not ultimately unsustainable."
It's come down to the big question of "how to move forward as a society with respect to release of carbon," toward "a development economy cognizant of the need to reduce carbon in the atmosphere," he said.
The film challenges notions around the supposed economic and societal benefits of the project, and juxtaposes the conversation around potential costs.
"We need to have this conversation and to bring it front and centre as a national conversation. What we see happening with this NEB review process is that proponents are allowed to talk about the benefits they see and share that widely. What has been cut out of the process is the environmental and social impacts. So if we're going to talk about benefits, we have to also talk about the costs."
Aren't there only these "costs" incurred if there were to be a disaster?
"There are ongoing costs being incurred by indigenous communities who live downstream from the oil sands in Alberta, around Athabasca and Fort McMurray," he said. "And scant benefits."
The first phase features the film, which will be the pilot for a web-based series being planned. See more at directlyaffected.tv where footage of constantly updated and added.
"We're moving into creating content for the series now."
They requested interviews with Kinder Morgan reps, and NEB officials but were turned down on both counts repeatedly.
– Jennifer Feinberg
A screening of Directly Affected is slated for Thursday March 19 at SFU Surrey campus, room 2600, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. The event includes a presentation by Doug McArthur, director at the SFU School of Public Policy and co-author of a report that argued Kinder Morgan has exaggerated the project's economic benefits and downplayed risks. It will be followed by a panel discussion with Councillor Tumia Knott of the Kwantlen First Nation, Michael Hale of the Pipe Up Network and Zack Embree, director of Directly Affected.