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Don’t let the Energy East project cost the taxpayers of Saint John


(Red Head residents and supporters including other directly-affected landowners near Saint John, and Council of Canadians members from the Saint John and Fredericton chapters.  The presentation to Saint John Common Council was given by Lynaya Astephen who is pictured here in front.  June 27, 2016)


A community group of Red Head residents made a presentation entitled ‘How much will the taxpayers of Saint John pay for Energy East?’ to Saint John Common Council on Monday evening, June 27th.   The Red Head Anthony’s Cove Preservation Association represent a number of landowners who would be directly affected by the +13 million barrel tank farm, and +240 tanker/year marine terminal, proposed for the middle of their rural community in east Saint John.  They are literally at the “end of the line” for this proposed export tar sands bitumen pipeline coming from Alberta.


The residents expressed the same concern shared with Saint John Common Council that there is a long list of unanswered questions from TransCanada about the risks and liabilities of the proposed Energy East project.   The community group asked Council to forward their questions to the City’s NEB Working Group who can add them to their ongoing Informal Information Requests (IRs) and future Formal IRs to TransCanada.  Saint John Common Council passed a motion to have these questions passed on to their NEB Working Group (see list of 15 questions at bottom of this blog).


 


 


“If there was a spill or explosion, everyone in the city would be affected,“ says Lynaya Astephen, spokesperson for Red Head Anthony’s Cove Preservation Association.  “We will all pay if the City of Saint John does not get assurances that all the proper liability insurance, bonds, and written agreements will be in place.  We are asking that Saint John Common Council provide assurances that the taxpayers will not bear any costs of the construction, operation, spills, explosions, or fire of the proposed Energy East project.”


 



 



 


“The complex structure of shell companies for this project is a big red flag,” says Lynaya Astephen. “Why will the pipeline, tank farm, and marine terminal be built by money provided by TransCanada PipeLines Limited and Irving Oil Company Limited but they will be owned by different companies, both of which are limited partnership companies? (2)  Will Saint John Common Council request this information so that this limited liability structure can be explained to the taxpayers of Saint John?”




(Flowchart is included in the 8-page document entitled ‘Consolidated Application.Volume 3: Commercial. 4.0 FINANCING’ from Energy East Pipeline Ltd. that was submitted in May 2016 to the National Energy Board.)


“Municipal governments have a fiduciary duty to make sure companies operating in their jurisdiction carry unlimited liability guarantees,” says Teresa Debly, a member of the Red Head Anthony’s Cove Preservation Association.  “Right now there is too much uncertainly over the risks and the financial liability, so we don’t feel safe. Is this the reason why over 340 municipalities in Quebec made the decision to officially oppose the proposed Energy East project?”


 


“Their concern about the financial liability is justified.  A tar sands bitumen spill is very difficult and expensive to clean up,” says Mark D’Arcy, NB Energy East campaigner for the Council of Canadians.  “The Energy East will also carry some conventional oil, but it is primarily an export tar sands pipeline.  The Mayor of Edmundston, Cyrille Simard, and the Mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre, have publicly stated that the cost of a major spill in their watersheds could reach several billion and ten billion, respectively.   Unfortunately, under the amended Pipeline Safety Act which came into force on June 19th, the pipeline company is only liable for costs and damages of a spill up to $1 billion.”


 


“Our confidence in both TransCanada and the National Energy Board is tenuous,” says Mark D’Arcy. “Of the 99 questions requested by the City’s NEB Working Group,  TransCanada failed to answer, or provided incomplete answers, for 64 of them. (3)  And the Federal Government Audit released in January 2016 found that the National Energy Board was failing at their critical role as regulator of pipeline companies. (4)


“Why couldn’t TransCanada propose something cleaner?” adds Teresa Debly. “TransCanada has invested over $5 billion in solar, wind and hydro projects so why can’t they do these projects right now in our province? Our upcoming provincial carbon tax could be used to have companies like TransCanada build publicly-owned systems.  We eliminate the risks with clean energy, and as the saying goes, ‘Whenever there is a huge spill of solar energy, it’s just called a nice day.” 


 



       
SLIDE PRESENTATION & REFERENCES:


(1) Slide Presentation to Saint John Common Council (June 27, 2016)


(2) “Energy East Pipeline Limited Partnership will own all the facilities comprising the Project except for the Canaport Energy East marine terminal, which will be owned by Canaport Energy East Marine Terminal Limited Partnership.” “Energy East Pipeline Ltd. is the applicant and will hold the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) in respect of the entire Project, including the Canaport Energy East marine terminal.”


Energy East Pipeline Ltd., 2016. Consolidated Application. Volume 3: Commercial. 4.0 FINANCING, May, 8p. 


 


(3)  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.


 


(4)  Office of the Auditor General of Canada, 2016. Report 2—Oversight of Federally Regulated Pipelines. 2015 Fall Reports of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. January, 35p.

15 QUESTIONS PRESENTED TO SAINT JOHN COMMON COUNCIL (June 27, 2016)

How much will the taxpayers of Saint John pay for Energy East? 

ROAD REPAIRS

Q1.  Will Council request TransCanada provide a list of roads they propose to use for heavy truck hauling?

Q2.  Will Council require TransCanada to sign an agreement that a 3rd party will assess roads pre-and post-use?

Q3. Will Council require TransCanada to post upfront a bond to cover costs to repair or replace roads?

TRAFFIC CONTROL

Q4. Has TransCanada provided traffic controls & safety measures to keep residents safe and minimize disruption?

Q5. Has TransCanada agreed to complete compensation to City and any direct and indirect costs?

WATER BACKUP FOR CITY

Q6. Will new water treatment facility be able to switch water flow from east-end Loch Lomond lakes to west-end watersheds in the event of a spill?

Q7. Will TransCanada agree in writing to cover the cost of building these redundant systems?

COMPENSATION TO RESIDENTS FOR DAMAGE TO HOMES & LOSS OF WATER

Q8.  Will Council require TransCanada to post upfront a bond to cover costs to repair or replace foundations & wells in Red Head damaged during construction of tank farm & marine terminal?

Q9. Will Council require TransCanada sign an agreement that a 3rd party will assess foundations & water wells pre-and post-construction?

EMERGENCY RESPONSE

Q10.  Will TransCanada agree in writing to cover the cost of increasing emergency & spill response services?

Q11.  Will Council require TransCanada post upfront a bond to cover all additional costs of emergency services in event of spill or explosion?

SPILL CLEANUP

Q12.  Will TransCanada agree in writing to not use chemical dispersants and rely on mechanical spill cleanup equipment?

Q13.  Will Council require TransCanada post upfront a bond to cover all additional costs of evacuation, cleanup, restoration, and remediation in event of a spill or explosion?

COMPENSATION TO FISHERMEN, TOURISM & RESIDENTS

Q14.  Will Council require TransCanada to post upfront a bond for the complete compensation of fishermen, tourism employees, residents and business employees directly affected by a spill, explosion, and/or evacuation?

Q15.  Will Council require TransCanada to post upfront a bond for the complete compensation of short-term loss of drinking water and the cost of a permanent replacement?

IN SUMMARY,

We would like assurances from Saint John Common Council that the taxpayers of Saint John will not bear the costs of the construction and operation of the proposed Energy East pipeline, tank farm, and marine terminal.

We would like assurances from Saint John Common Council that the taxpayers of Saint John will not bear the costs of a spill, explosion, or fire of the proposed Energy East pipeline, tank farm, and marine terminal.