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Energy East and fracking threaten the St. Lawrence River

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow will be speaking in Clayton, New York this weekend at the 25th Annual Winter Environmental Conference. Clayton is situated on the St. Lawrence River near Lake Ontario and is about 30 kilometres south-east of Kingston, Ontario. As noted on their website, “Each year the conference provides attendees the opportunity to hear from and engage with knowledgeable and recognized speakers about topics of significance to the health of the St. Lawrence River.” 

The proposed 1.1 million barrels per day Energy East pipeline has been prompting community-based concerns related to the St. Lawrence River.

As reported in Le Soleil, Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures mayor Marcel Corriveau has expressed his opposition given the pipeline would pass a few meters from residences along the St. Lawrence River. And Laval University has refused to allow the pipeline to cross the fields of its experimental farm in this community located just west of Quebec City. The news report notes, “The experimental farm occupies an area of ​​280 hectares and is located south of Highway 138, at the height of Girard Road. …The pipeline must traverse the north shore of the St. Lawrence near this location.”

And CBC has reported, “A beluga whale habitat (in the St. Lawrence) near Rivière-du-Loup may be in jeopardy if plans go ahead for the Energy East pipeline. TransCanada wants to … put a port in Cacouna, just northeast of Rivière-du-Loup (for the pipeline). But these plans put a port right in the middle of an at-risk beluga population. …The deep water St. Lawrence Estuary beluga population is a species at risk of extinction and is protected under the Species At Risk Act. According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the St. Lawrence is home to an estimated 1,000 belugas. …(The St. Lawrence Estuary) area is not yet a protected zone because the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has yet to receive a decree from Fisheries Minister Gail Shea…”

It should also be noted that fracking and a $250 million NAFTA investor-state suit also come into play with the St. Lawrence River.

In November 2012, the Globe and Mail reported, “The Quebec government’s move to cancel a natural-gas exploration permit for deposits beneath the St. Lawrence River last year was ‘arbitrary, capricious and illegal’, according to the U.S. energy company challenging the move under the North American free-trade agreement. …Lone Pine, which is incorporated in Delaware but headquartered in Calgary, said it has sunk ‘millions’ into plans to use the controversial method of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to extract natural gas from shale formations under the riverbed.”

The Council of Canadians opposes the Energy East pipeline and supports Quebec’s moratorium against fracking.

Further reading
Energy East pipeline threatens beluga whales in the St. Lawrence
Université Laval refuses Energy East pipeline
NAFTA challenge to Quebec fracking law puts profits ahead of water