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18 Talking Points on why New Brunswick cities and towns should oppose Energy East

     “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

(attributed to U.S. Senator Patrick Moynihan)

1.  “It is our future too!”.  We must listen to our young people.

2.  Jobs are too few for this $15.7 billion project.  Jobs will be many times greater and long term with a clean economy.

Tar sands bitumen

3.  A tar sands bitumen spill into our river or bay would sink and stick to the bottom, destroying its tourism and fishery.  Cleanup is difficult, expensive, and impossible to fully restore the ecosystem.  With the Energy East pipeline proposed to cross 370 waterways in New Brunswick, and exported by 281 supertankers/year over the Bay of Fundy, the risk of a spill is too great.  

4.  Tar sands bitumen is too dangerous because it requires large amounts of toxic chemicals in order to flow through pipelines.  When this diluted bitumen leaks into water, these solvent chemicals evaporate into a toxic cloud, and the bitumen sinks and sticks to the bottom.  These airborne solvents can cause life-threatening poisoning, including paralysis and death, requiring an immediate evacuation of all residents within the 1.6 kilometre (1.0 mile) Evacuation Zone from an affected waterway.  


5. TransCanada has the worst pipeline safety record in Canada, with 17 full-bore ruptures since 1992.  Using this record, if Energy East is built it would be just a matter of time (15% risk each year) when this tar sands pipeline would have a major leak somewhere in Canada. 

6.  Under the Pipeline Safety Act, TransCanada has a $1 billion cap on liability in the event of a major spill in a waterway or the Bay of Fundy.

An export pipeline

7.  Energy East would be an export tar sands pipeline, necessary for the expansion of the Tar Sands. Energy East would lock in fossil fuel infrastructure and expansion of the Alberta Tar Sands for the next 40 years.

8.  At least 80% of the 1.1 million barrels/day coming to Saint John is already under commercial agreement for export.

All of New Brunswick is unceded territory

9. The Wolastoqewiyik (Maliseet People) are intimately connected to the land, animals and plants, water and air of their territory.  The Energy East pipeline would cut across the entire length of their ancestral territory, a territory based on the watershed boundaries of the St. John River Basin.

10.  The Wolastoqewiyik (Maliseet People) still own their homeland. Their ancestors never surrendered any piece of the land in Peace and Friendship Treaties, treaties that are protected in Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution. Their rights include “free, prior, and informed consent”, as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

Climate change

11.  The severe ice, rain and wind storms of climate change is happening now to our New Brunswick communities. We can no longer ignore the cost and threat of climate change from these damaging storms.

e.g. On Dec. 13, 2010, a slow-moving cloudburst dumped over 160 millimetres (6+ inches) of rain over Magaguadavic Lake, only a one-hour drive away from Fredericton.  This storm caused catastrophic floods in Charlotte County, closing 120 roads and an estimated $13.83 million in damages.

e.g. On Sept. 30, 2015, a torrential storm with up to 215 millimetres of rain washed out culverts, roads, and damaged houses in 70 communities.  South and northeast New Brunswick were impacted by these flash floods, with a significant number of roads and bridges closed in the Kars and Belleisle area.   This storm caused more than $15.3 million in damages.

e.g. On July 5, 2014, the City of Fredericton was hit hardest by Post-Tropical Storm Arthur, and spent more than $1.2 million on the cleanup of 1000s of fallen trees across the city.

e.g. On Jan. 24 and 25, 2017, a record-breaking ice storm hit over much of New Brunswick causing widespread power blackouts of more than 200,000 customers.  The Canadian Armed Forces were called in a week later into the northeastern part of the province, where it took a total of 2 weeks before 20,000 customers were reconnected while crews fixed the damage to the transmission lines and poles.

12. The rise of 1*C in average global temperatures from climate change has resulted in an extra 5% of moisture in our atmosphere.  This increased water has added fuel for more intense storms here in New Brunswick.  

13. And the severity of these storms in New Brunswick will only get worse with rising temperatures.  We need to heed the ominous warning from current climate change models that predict we will see 3*C rise by 2050 and a 6*C rise by 2100.

Transparency and trust

14.  Despite repeated requests over the last year, TransCanada and the National Energy Board have failed to provide real maps to the public and municipalities here in New Brunswick.  The lack of clear and understandable maps has kept many New Brunswick communities in the dark about the detailed route of the pipeline.  


15.  Despite repeated requests over the last three years, TransCanada has failed to hold any public meeting here in New Brunswick.  Would you trust a large resource company that refuses to answer questions in public?

16. It is time for other Mayors and Councillors in New Brunswick to talk about Energy East in public with their constituents rather than in secret with TransCanada.  Since 2013, TransCanada has been holding a large number of closed-door meetings with “45 municipalities in New Brunswick” (Senate Committee hearing in Saint John, N.B., October 19, 2016).

17.  TransCanada has failed to answer questions on Energy East in a timely and meaningful manner.  Many questions from New Brunswick municipalities have gone unanswered.

e.g. “Of the 99 questions requested by the City’s NEB Working Group, TransCanada failed to answer, or provided incomplete answers, for 64 of them. (City of Saint John, 2016.  Attachment D: Summary of TransCanada’s Responses to the City of Saint John’s Informal Information Requests (IRs). City of Saint John Informal Information Request No. 1.  Included in Saint John Common Council Agenda Packet, April 18, p. 336-443)


18. Our municipalities in New Brunswick need to take a leadership role in protecting our rivers and bays, diversifying our local economy, and to make our communities resilient against the severe rain, ice storms, and hurricanes of climate change.  We all have to speak up and protect our communities and the climate future of our young people.

For more on the Council of Canadians campaign to stop the Energy East pipeline, please click here.



3 Steps to protect your river and bay, your community, and the climate future of young people from Energy East

Sackville becomes the first to oppose Energy East, paving the way for other municipalities in New Brunswick

10 Compelling Reasons Why Mount Allison University and Sackville Should Oppose Energy East

TransCanada delivers a barrel of alternative facts on Energy East to Sackville Town Council

Wolastoq Grand Council is my pick for one of the most compelling presentations against Energy East in 2016


Mount Allison University students Katia Mckercher, Naia Noyes-West and Mara Ostafichuk, and Council of Canadians campaigner Mark D’Arcy, November 19, 2016.