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Cayley-Daoust opposes Energy East at public meeting in Merrickville

Photo by Sustainable North Grenville (SNG).

Ottawa-based Council of Canadians energy and climate justice campaigner Daniel Cayley-Daoust spoke against the Energy East pipeline at a public meeting last night in Merrickville (which is located about 85 kilometres south of Ottawa).

Inside Ottawa Valley has reported, “On Sept. 6, a representative from TransCanada made a presentation to the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, asking them to pass a resolution in support of the Energy East project, which is proposed to run through a section of North Grenville. ‘I’ve asked the representative (Jon Pitcher) to come do a presentation here like the one he did for county council’, said [Merrickville-Wolford Mayor David] Nash. …The purpose of the Energy East presentation is to open a dialogue amongst Merrickville-Wolford residents.”

But Mayor Nash has also highlighted, “If [the pipeline] leaked here, the aquifer would be polluted. It would go down into our groundwater. The canal is a national historic site and we run the risk of destroying that too. If that happens, you’re done. You’re not going to be able to clean that up. My job is to represent the people who live here. If the residents are opposed to this project, then I will take that back to the county. I won’t vote to endorse what the people don’t support.”

Cayley-Daoust tells us that three TransCanada representatives did a 30-40 minute presentation and that the audience challenged them during a question and answer period. Sustainable North Grenville adds, “Cayley-Daoust, along with SNG’s Ian Angus were among those who spoke against the Energy East project at the public meeting in Merrickville. Mayor Nash was commended for not expressing support for the project until he heard the public’s wishes. About 75 people attended. Besides TransCanada, not a single person spoke in favour of the proposed pipeline project.”

We have been highlighting for our members who live in the area that, “A bitumen spill in the Rideau River would be catastrophic for the ecosystems and the lives of everyone in the county. A spill would also threaten the drinking water of all the communities downstream. Just this past summer, we saw how dangerous pipelines can be when a relatively small spill in the North Saskatchewan River traveled over 500 kilometres downstream and shut down the drinking water of over 70,000 people for weeks. That spill was only 250,000 litres. The Energy East pipeline would pump that much crude oil in just 15 minutes.”

We have also circulated this action alert calling on our members in the nine townships and villages that form the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville to send a message to their mayor asking them “to withhold any support for TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline”.

The United Counties of Leeds and Grenville was to vote tonight on TransCanada’s request to endorse their controversial 1.1 million barrel per day pipeline, but last night Mayor Nash committed to asking that this vote be postponed until Merrickville Council can vote on the issue.