Why should eastern Canada suffer the water and climate risks western Canada and the United States refuse to accept?
OTTAWA, Oct. 30, 2014 /CNW/ - After TransCanada filed its official application with the National Energy Board today, environmental organizations in Canada and the United States, First Nations and community organizers said the Energy East pipeline will never be built.
"It's not going to happen," said Patrick Bonin of Greenpeace Canada. "Energy East would negate all the good work on climate that has been done at the provincial level, pose a major threat to millions of people's drinking water and disrespect Canadians in Eastern Canada, who care as much as any other Canadian about oil spills contaminating their homes, waterways and livelihoods."
Energy East – extending from Alberta to New Brunswick - would be the longest oil pipeline in North America and the single largest tar sands pipeline, transporting 30 per cent more oil than Keystone XL and double the size of Northern Gateway. TransCanada says its Energy East pipeline would create 1087 direct, long-term jobs, less than Efficiency Nova Scotia, an energy efficiency utility that created 1200 direct, long-term jobs in the past four years, in Nova Scotia alone.
"TransCanada entered my territory, Kanehsatàke, like a slick snake oil salesman with promises of jobs and economic benefits. The company's unscrupulous manner to impress upon our community that Energy East is a 'done deal' is unethical and coercive. In the absence of our free prior and informed consent, it would be illegal for the National Energy Board to grant TransCanada an application for Energy East," said Ellen Gabriel of Kanehsatàke, a Mohawk community in Quebec.
The NEB has said it will not consider the climate impacts of the pipeline in its assessment. This despite the fact the greenhouse gas emissions generated by filling Energy East's capacity would be equivalent to adding more than 7 million cars a year to Canada's roads, according to a recent report by the Pembina Institute.
"At a time when we're already seeing impacts of climate change in Canada, it's ludicrous the federal government thinks it can review Energy East with no consideration of how this project will impact the climate," said Cameron Fenton of 350.org.
In recent weeks, more than 50,000 people have sent letters to the National Energy Board asking that climate and community voices be included in the review of Energy East.
Water is another major concern as the proposed route would transport crude oil and bitumen across at least 90 watersheds and 961 waterways. This includes the Rideau River, Rivières des Outaouais, the St Lawrence River and the Bay of Fundy. It travels over, through and near well and municipal drinking water sources, including Shoal Lake, which supplies water to Winnipeg.
"The Energy East pipeline would be a direct threat to Kenora's water supply and, as North America's premier boating destination, that's a major problem," said Teika Newton, a Kenora community organizer, adding the pipeline would jeopardize the half a billion dollar regional tourism industry in Northwestern Ontario.
Just this week, voters in Kenora, North Bay and Thunder Bay elected city councils with strong mandates to oppose Energy East, along with Thunder Bay, which re-elected Mayor Keith Hobbs, an opponent of the pipeline. In Ottawa, a majority on city council have expressed concerns about Energy East, while more than 40,000 Canadians have signed petitions opposing Energy East.
In Quebec, close to 50,000 people have asked the federal government to forbid TransCanada from drilling in endangered beluga habitat. More than a dozen resolutions, including by several Quebec communities, have been filed against the pipeline. A recent report by the Goodman Group showed Quebec would receive almost no economic value from the project.
"There is no way Quebecers are going to allow what Canadians in the west and Americans to the south don't want, and that is unacceptable water and climate risks from an export pipeline that benefits the bottom line of one pipeline company," said Steven Guilbeault of Equiterre.
Groups opposed to the Energy East pipeline include Greenpeace Canada, Equiterre, Environmental Defence, Ecology Ottawa, Council of Canadians, NRDC, New Brunswick Conservation Council, AQLPA, 350 Maine, Nature Quebec, Ecology Action Centre and the Coule pas chez nous! Campaign as well as land and homeowners living near the proposed route and concerned municipalities, like North Bay, Saint-Sulpice and L'Assomption.
SOURCE: Greenpeace Canada
For further information: Patrick Bonin, Greenpeace Canada climate and energy campaigner, 514-594-1221; Cam Fenton, Canadian Tar Sands Organizer, 350.org, 604-369-2155; Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy and Climate Justice Campaigner, Council of Canadians, 613-793-5488; Teika Newton, Kenora, Ontario community organizer, 807-466-2403; Geneviève Aude Puskas, Équiterre, 514-792-5222; Catherine Abreu, Energy Coordinator, Ecology Action Centre (Atlantic Canada), 902-412- 8953