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Ontario government sees Energy East as threat to North Bay’s drinking water

Maude in North Bay

Barlow speaks against Energy East in North Bay, April 2014.

The Ontario provincial government has agreed with the North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority source protection committee’s recommendation that the proposed Energy East pipeline is a threat to drinking water in the area. The pipeline crosses numerous waterways that flow into Trout Lake, as well as under Trout Lake, which is the sole source of North Bay’s drinking water.

The North Bay Nugget reports, “Dave Mendicino, chairman of the North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority, said the local agency was informed Thursday the province has agreed with the source protection committee’s recommendation to include the pipeline in the plan as a potential threat. The news comes on the same day the conservation authority announced provincial approval of the source protection plan, which includes policies aimed at protecting drinking water sources in Callander, Mattawa, North Bay, Powassan and South River.”

The article adds, “‘This is what we wanted. It validates our concerns’, said Mayor Al McDonald, noting the designation will strengthen the city’s position on the pipeline project when it appears before the National Energy Board. McDonald and Mendicino both indicated work is now underway to determine the implications of designation for the pipeline, as well as the city and conservation authority. Both the city and authority have submitted applications to the National Energy Board seeking intervenor status in upcoming Energy East pipeline hearings.”

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow spoke against the Energy East pipeline in North Bay in April 2014. That event featured as a speaker local resident Donna Sinclair. She commented, “North Bay’s water is precious to us all. TransCanada’s plan to convert the natural gas pipeline into a carrier for crude oil puts Trout Lake and the fifty-plus other water bodies in the North Bay at risk. We’ll be left with the long term risk, while TransCanada pursues the short-term reward.”

The North Bay Nugget reported at that time, “[Barlow] said people should know this pipeline is carrying the most dangerous oil on earth. ‘It’s so much more dangerous [than any other oil] and it’s crossing watersheds and many waterways around the Great Lake Region that are already being threatened. We certainly don’t need to add to that threat’, she said.”

In August 2014, we released a report titled Energy East: Where Oil Meets Water. In it, Council of Canadians energy and climate justice campaigner Andrea Harden-Donahue wrote, “The pipeline directly crosses a number of waterways in the North Bay area (56,000 residents) including Duchesnay Creek, Chippewa Creek, Mattawa River, Doren’s Creek, Kaibuskong River, Sharpes Creek, Amable du Fond River, Pautois Creek, Four Mile Creek and Boom Creek and their tributaries. The Doren Creek crossing is of particular concern to residents. It is about 10 kilometres away from Trout Lake, the sole source of drinking water for North Bay and its surrounding municipal areas. A major spill in this area could enter the creek and flow into Trout Lake, very close to municipal water plant’s water intake location.”

For more about our campaign to stop the Energy East pipeline, please click here.