Great Lakes could become carbon corridor, says Maude Barlow in new report

Media Release
March 17, 2014

As governments approve tar sands oil and fracking projects around the Great Lakes, the Council of Canadians is warning that these extreme energy projects are putting the Great Lakes in peril. Council of Canadians Chairperson Maude Barlow outlines the web of pipelines, refineries and oil shipments that threaten the Lakes in her new report released today entitled, Liquid Pipeline: Extreme energy’s threat to the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway.

“We are only seeing the tip of the iceberg and only just beginning to understand the grave impacts these extreme energy projects are going to have on the Great Lakes. We often see these projects approved piecemeal but we have to step back and think about how all these projects are going to affect the Lakes,” says Barlow in her report, which is available here. “Enbridge is asking that the Alberta Clipper pipeline transport 800,000 barrels of oil per day, Calumet Specialty Products wants to ship millions of barrels of oil across Lakes and TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline cuts through the Great Lakes watershed. If governments continue to allow projects like this, what are our lakes going to look like in 20 or 50 years?”

“Federal, state and provincial governments all say that we must protect the Great Lakes but they continue to approve these projects. The Harper government has gutted environmental legislation to grease the wheels for industry and fails to put adequate funding into Great Lakes protection,” says Emma Lui, water campaigner for the Council of Canadians. “These governments can no longer just pay lip-service. We want them to stop approving these extreme energy projects that are threatening the Lakes.”

The Liquid Pipeline report warns about the serious environmental implications of extreme energy extraction methods which are more water and energy intensive. Barlow says in her report: “The threat of extreme energy to the world’s vulnerable water supplies is very real. Large-scale water consumption combined with massive pollution from extraction methods are harming watersheds around the world. Extreme energy extraction, production and transport are about to put the Great Lakes of North America at risk.”

The Council of Canadians has launched an action alert calling on state governors and provincial premiers to ban extreme energy in the Great Lakes before it is too late. 

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canadians.org/greatlakes | Twitter: @CouncilOfCDNs