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Fredericton chapter challenges TransCanada at chamber of commerce meeting

Maggie Connell

Fredericton chapter activist Maggie Connell in Global News still.

The Council of Canadians Fredericton chapter challenged TransCanada executives at a business gathering today.

Just weeks after TransCanada refused to hold a public meeting in Fredericton on their proposed Energy East pipeline, it was announced that company representatives would meet with businesspeople at a Fredericton Chamber of Commerce meeting for the second time in a year. That contradiction prompted the Fredericton chapter to demand that the meeting be open to the public. Confronted by the bad optics of the situation, the Chamber of Commerce had little choice but to agree.

This evening, Global News reports, “Environmental questions dominated a meeting with TransCanada representatives at the Fredericton Convention Centre Tuesday morning. Kevin Maloney, the Manager of New Build Pipelines for Alberta and New Brunswick, was there to talk about how the proposed Energy East pipeline might create jobs in the capital region. But some audience members had other questions.”

The article then highlights, “‘There’s all kinds of information that comes to us. Researched information that comes to us regarding pipeline spills’, said Maggie Connell. ‘They do leak. It’s not a question of will they leak, it’s when will they leak?’ Connell, with Fredericton’s Council of Canadians, also asked where a spill in the Nashwaak River would end up.”

TransCanada executives framed the meeting as unproductive claiming we weren’t asking questions or really looking for answers. But “where would a spill in the Nashwaak River end up?” would seem to be a very direct question that the company should be able to answer. The question stems from the fact that the proposed pipeline route crosses three tributaries leading into the Nashwaak River and the river itself flows into the Fredericton aquifer.

And the further questions that the chapter would like to ask the company are quite clear:

  • Will TransCanada be required to post a multi-billion dollar bond as a clean-up fund in the event of a pipeline spill?

  • Will benzene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and heavy metals be used in large concentrations to dilute the bitumen in order to ship in pipelines?

  • Will computer modelling be conducted to predict whether or not toxic chemicals from an oil spill would reach the base of the Nashwaak River, the critical location of windows into the Fredericton aquifer?

  • Will the Government of New Brunswick and TransCanada initiate meetings with the Wolastoq Nation [given the pipeline crosses their unceded territory and would affect their waterways]?

  • Will this project jeopardize Canada’s chance of meetings its greenhouse gas targets?

For more on our campaign against the Energy East pipeline, please click here.

Further reading
Fredericton chapter is asking TransCanada to explain potential threat to their city’s drinking water (March 2015 blog by Mark D’Arcy)
TransCanada refuses to hold a public meeting in Fredericton on the Energy East pipeline (February 2015 blog)