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Council launches 5-city Energy East tour in Halifax

Harden-Donahue, Foytlin, Abreu and Barlow were on last night's panel. Photo by Tori Ball.

Photo: Harden-Donahue, Foytlin, Abreu and Barlow were on last night’s panel. Photo by Tori Ball.

The Council of Canadians began a 5-city speaking tour of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick last night in Halifax in opposition to the Energy East pipeline. Just before last night’s public forum, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow tweeted:

The Halifax Chronicle-Herald reports, “Barlow challenged about 120 forum attendees to fight against a proposed pipeline that would bring western Canadian oil to New Brunswick. ‘We expect to build a wall of opposition to Energy East’, she said Sunday night at Halifax’s Dalhousie University during the first stop of a five-city series of forums. ‘This is our job and it’s going to be a long haul.’ The forums, which will also be held in Cornwallis Monday, Saint John (Wednesday), Fredericton (Nov. 4) and Edmundston (Nov. 6), have been arranged by the Council of Canadians.”

Barlow speaks in Halifax. Photo by Tori Ball.“Barlow, the council’s national chairperson, said people should be concerned about the proposed TransCanada Energy East pipeline. She said the route would pass through 1,000 watersheds. She also fears the pipeline’s oil could be exported outside of eastern Canada, increasing water traffic — and the risk of spills — in the Bay of Fundy and St. Lawrence River. Barlow said it will be important for ecology activists to work with First Nations groups, who may be on strong legal ground when it comes to blocking any pipeline plan.”

On Friday, Barlow wrote in an op-ed in the Chronicle-Herald, “Energy East could ship up to 1.1 million barrels per day of tar sands crude. Over 90 per cent of that is expected to be exported — unrefined — on tankers, which could double tanker traffic in the Bay of Fundy. …A lab-based wave tank study by Environment Canada found that, when released in sea water with fine sediments and high-energy wave action — precisely the conditions one would expect in the Bay of Fundy — bitumen sinks and forms tar balls. Sinking oil is a particular risk in areas like the Bay of Fundy where people mostly fish bottom-dwelling species like lobster and scallops. The Bay is also home to the highest tides in the world, which means the tar balls could move into other ecosystems faster, so containment and clean-up would be even more urgent to limit the damage.”

In her summation of the public forum, Halifax-based Council of Canadians organizer Tori Ball notes, “[Council of Canadians energy and climate justice campaigner] Andrea Harden began with an overview of the proposed Energy East pipeline and some of the stories of opposition to it and other projects that Big Oil is trying to push through. Cherri Foytlin spoke powerful words of warning from her experiences after the tragedy of the BP Deepwater Horizon spill. She spoke of how dirty oil corporations don’t know how to clean up their own mess, but are incredibly good at preventing you from putting back together your life that they’ve tried to destroy. Maude Barlow raised the global water crisis that so many of us have been told does not exist, making it clear that this project threatens all of us and everything that we depend on. Catherine Abreu [from the Ecology Action Centre] closed out the night with a celebration of the progress Nova Scotia has made in reducing its carbon footprint and investing in alternatives which can deliver both the a prosperous and sustainable future. [And] a huge thank you to Tom Duck for moderating and sharing his expertise as both a scientist and concerned citizen.”

Atlantic regional organizer Angela Giles tweeted this Radio-Canada article about the tour. There has also been coverage by CBC New Brunswick here and an interview with Barlow on CTV News Atlantic here.

For more information on this tour, please click here.

Photo: Barlow speaks in Halifax. Photo by Tori Ball.