Skip to content

Fredericton chapter tells Trudeau that readable Energy East pipeline route maps are needed

Photos by Saint John chapter activist Lynaya Astephen

The Council of Canadians Fredericton and Saint John chapters were at the Trudeau town hall meeting in Fredericton this morning.

The Canadian Press reports, “Trudeau was asked about Energy East from a man, who said he was with the Council of Canadians, at a town hall event in Fredericton, who wondered if public meetings will be held in affected communities, and whether detailed maps of the pipeline route would be provided.”

That man was Fredericton chapter activist and Energy East-New Brunswick campaigner Mark D’Arcy.

The article continues, “Trudeau says his government inherited a ‘high degree of mistrust’ from the previous Conservative government that has left Canadians skeptical about consultations on pipelines and environmental protection.”

D’Arcy stated, “My name is Mark D’Arcy, I’m a member of The Council of Canadians. Many New Brunswickers and Indigenous communities along the pipeline route have no idea where this pipeline is proposed beside their rivers, their bays, their homes, their towns. Despite almost a year of groups writing letters to the National Energy Board for readable maps they have not yet been produced by TransCanada and provided to the communities. In July 2016 your minister of natural resources, Jim Carr, announced two additional consultation hearings for Energy East. So my question is will your government promise that our communities along the pipeline route will get readable maps and as well community meetings allowing citizens to voice their concerns, questions, ideas regarding Energy East, job creation, climate change.”

Trudeau replied, “We enhanced the process for pipeline approvals ensuring there’s more public input, there’s more engagement, there’s more rigorous science, there is an approach that can reassure Canadians that instead of being a cheerleader, a booster for pipelines, you have a government that’s a referee that makes sure there’s a level playing field and that people can actually understand what is being proposed, what are the alternatives, and be reassured that if we do move forward that it will be in a way that is in the public interest, that does reflect a broad range of concerns.”

He then added, “An example of that is how we moved forward on the Kinder Morgan expansion out west. How do you build the pipeline and still demonstrate leadership on climate change? And that’s a question we dug into and have a good answer to. We figured out the right balance to move forward on that because moving forward on the pipeline as opposed to oil by rail is actually more efficient, less polluting, much less dangerous, and because of the absolute cap on oil sands emissions that Alberta put in through its own leadership, we can fit the pipeline within a climate change reduction plan that meets our Paris targets.”

And Trudeau concluded, “The other thing people expressed concerns about is the safety of our oceans and how we’re going to respond to a spill or any challenges that come up. And that’s why under your great minister of fisheries and oceans Dominic LeBlanc and our Minister of Transport and others we brought in a historic oceans protection plan that will make sure our coasts are protected and whether the Bay of Fundy or the north coast off Vancouver Island our oceans are protected and that we have the capacity to respond to challenges. So this is the balance were going on Energy East.”

A few troubling aspects of Trudeau’s response:

  • He didn’t actually respond to D’Arcy’s request for readable and understandable maps of the Energy East pipeline route.

  • According to U.S. data, rail incidents happened twice as often as pipeline spills from 2004 to 2012, but pipelines spilled three times as much crude oil as trains over that period. As such rail versus pipeline is a choice between more frequent versus larger oil spills.

  • The Alberta climate plan “cap” actually enables a 40 per cent increase in tar sands production.

  • Science does not back the notion that the Kinder Morgan and Line 3 pipelines can be approved, with the Keystone XL and Energy East pipelines also be considered, and still meet our Paris climate targets.

  • The best way to protect oceans and ocean life, including orcas and right whales, is to avoid building new pipelines and increasing tanker traffic.

  • Investment in renewable energy brings more jobs dollar for dollar than investments in the fossil fuel industry.

Council of Canadians activists will continue to raise questions in these town hall meetings as Trudeau travels to other parts of the country over the next several weeks.