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Équiterre and the fight against climate change

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On February 18, Équiterre, the Quebec Environmental Law Centre (CQDE), Coule pas chez nous foundation and Nature Québec filed a motion with the Superior Court in Montreal for a declaratory judgment against TransCanada to subject the Energy East pipeline project to the procedure required under Quebec law.

TransCanada wants to cross Quebec, while bypassing provincial laws. Michel Bélanger, the applicants’ lawyer, summed it up well: “If the largest industrial project in Quebec does not respect the law by filing a project notice—the trigger for the Quebec environmental impact assessment and review procedure—who will?”

Earlier this week, Équiterre, along with several other Canadian and American environmental groups—the Natural Resource Defense Council, Environmental Defence, Pembina Institute and Ecology Action Centre—asked the Trudeau government to include a science-based climate test in the federal environmental assessment process.

These two important actions took place a few days before Prime Minister Trudeau’s first official visit to the White House. The Couillard administration is also considering adopting a climate test, as certain projects come under provincial, not federal, jurisdiction. Équiterre filed a brief, Pour une évaluation des impacts sur le climat [For assessment of impacts on the climate], to this effect last autumn during consultations on the green paper entitled Moderniser le régime d’autorisation environnementale de la Loi sur la qualité de l’environnement [Updating the Environment Quality Act’s environmental permitting system] to the parliamentary commission on transportation and the environment.

These measures must be taken to initiate the energy transition process and invest in green energy.