Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Energy East Concerns In Ontario and National Action

In January the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) organized seven public meetings on the Energy East pipeline. These meetings helped to inform the Ontario Government's position as intervener in the the National Energy Board (NEB) hearings on the Energy East pipeline.

In addition to concerns about the impact on beluga whales in Quebec, people in Ontario are concerned about water risks from spills and greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts.

TransCanada has not submitted an oil spill response plan. Oil spills are of even greater concern in Canada than they are down south because of the challenges posed by spills in ice covered waterways.

According to a presentation by Dr. Alan Hepburn, a retired engineer, and a member of the board of directors of the Ontario Rivers Alliance, we should expect to see 8 oil spills per 5,200 km of pipeline over the 22 year lifespan of the Energy East. That amounts to a total of around 20 oil spills. To conduct his analysis Dr. Hepburn analyzed data from Transportation Safety Board records.

The other issue of great concern to people in Ontario is the GHG impact of the Energy East pipeline project.  The governments assessments about the GHG load have been dismissed by academic experts because they were based on inaccurate assumptions. According to 350.org, Energy East will generate 32 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

The National Energy Board has received 1,805 applications to participate in hearings on the proposed pipeline. Two out of every three applications received by the NEB demanded to talk about climate change.

Over 100,000 messages from people across Canada demanding a full climate review of the pipeline has already been refused by the NEB. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has stacked the board with oil executives and their political allies, who ignore climate concerns.

Although Canada's ruling federal Conservatives will ultimately decide the fate of Energy East, a growing climate justice movement is voicing their opposition to Harper's fossil fuel obsession. On April 11th, thousands of people will come together in Quebec City to express their views at a gathering of Canadian Premiers.  The Act on Climate March is being led by local groups in Quebec. Click here to find out more about the March and solidarity actions taking place in cities across Canada.

Another mobilization will take place this July. Click here to sign up and learn more.

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