Hi there StEEP-Hfx supporters!
Welcome to 2015, the year of crushing pipelines! We’re off to a great start: we organizers have had a surprisingly busy January, and February’s looking jam-packed as well. Hopefully we can keep that momentum up through the whole year! Here’s an update:
After officially becoming an NSPIRG working group in December, we came back from the holidays to find out we have also been approved for a $10,000 grant from the Tar Sands Fund! (Special thanks to Emma who bottom-lined the application!) We’ve budgeted this grant to help with all of our activities, but the bulk of it will be used to hire a staff member or two, who will be working with us through June 2015. The hiring process is under way with help from NSPIRG. Anyone interested can submit an application to NSPRIG at http://nspirg.ca/steepjobs2015/ before the deadline of February 10th.
In other exciting news, our most recent action was a great success! After learning that Halifax would be the first stop on the National Energy Board’s “National Outreach Initiative” on January 26th, our organizers set to work to send the NEB a message. Inspired by the work of our allies in New Brunswick, we put together an open letter to the NEB Chairman, Peter Watson. In it, we called out the NEB on their closed-door meeting process, and invited them to join us at a “Town Hall” style meeting outside the Halifax Central Library to hear what real Haligonians had to say on the subject. Needless to say, Mr. Watson and company did not show up to meet the public with us, but a good amount of press did! Banners were waved, handbills handed out, pictures taken, our petition signed, and passers-by chatted to until all our toes and noses were numb in the cold. Later, the NEBresponded to the media we generated in a spectacularly poor fashion. And, as we’re sure you’ve heard, this appears to be the start of a trend for their trip across the country!
So what’s going on this month? To begin with, our own Ev hosted a “Lunch and Learn” at Dal this Thursday, February 5th, bringing our message to students and allies at the university. Yay Ev!
Meanwhile, we are all super stoked for our Strategic Planning Retreat this Friday the 6th and Saturday the 7th! We’re taking some solid time together to hammer down details of our community practices, goals, and vision. The retreat planning committee has worked out some exciting content and sessions for us, and we can’t wait to get stuck in. (Of course, we’ll have some team building and share delicious food along the way…)
But wait, there’s more! On February 14th from 10:30am to 1:30 pm we’ll be back at the Central Library (indoors this time. Phew!) encouraging folks to “Break up with the NEB” for Valentine’s. This is to say, we’re holding a letter writing and pizza party, where we’ll help those interested to fill out the NEB’s online application form to become “Intervenors” in the pipeline review process and have their concerns voiced. We don’t have high hopes of being accepted, but we will show that many people are concerned about this pipeline.. Plus, pizza! Hope to see you all there!
Stay tuned later this month for our shiny new website and more community outreach events. We’re hoping to take any opportunity to spread the word and get more pipeline-crushers on board!
The StEEP-Hfx Team