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Reflections on the Atlantic Energy East Our Risk – Their Reward tour

It’s been a week since our Atlantic Energy East tour wrapped up, and what a whirlwind it has been.

The tour was ambitious with the hosting of 5 public forums, a series of meetings and site visits.

Cornwallis Forum

Cornwallis public forum

Our guest speakers, Cherri Foytlin on the BP Gulf Coast disaster and Ben Gotschall on Nebraskan ranchers’ successful opposition to TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline were inspiring for all of us. Maude laid bare the truth of this pipeline’s purpose for export, not local jobs and its threat to the over 1000 waterways it crosses. Matt Abbott of the Fundy Baykeeper explained what the project would mean for the right whales and the devastation that would happen were diluted bitumen to spill in the Bay. Angela and I spoke to why many are calling Energy East, producing more climate pollution then any single Atlantic province, is a climate test for our elected leaders.

Maude and Cherri Foytlin with Hubert Saulnier, local fisherman and President of Local 9 Maritime Fishermen's Union

Maude and Cherri Foytlin with Hubert Saulnier, local fisherman and President of Local 9 Maritime Fishermen’s Union

Here are some of the amazing results:

  • 1000+ Energy East: Our Risk – Their Reward window signs distributed

  • 800 + people attended public forums

  • 122 photos of our journey

  • 20 + articles and radio interviews about growing concerns and opposition to Energy East like this, this and this

  • 15 meetings with Mayors, First Nations, fishermen and women, students, landowners and farmers

  • 10 communities visited

  • 10 blogs like this, this and this

  • 6 TV interviews about Energy East risks and rising opposition including this and this

  • 3 op-eds published in the Halifax Chronicle Herald, Saint John Telegraph Journal and Globe and Mail

  • 5 site visits to the proposed pipeline path

  • 2 week long tour featuring incredible speakers including Maude Barlow, Cherri Foytlin on BP Gulf Coast Disaster, Ben Gotschall on Nebraska resistance to Keystone XL and more (see bios here)  

  • 1 TransCanada Energy East Saint John open house crashed by local groups opposing Energy East pipeline

There is a wall of opposition forming all across the path of this mega 1.1 million barrels-per-day (bpd) pipeline.

From concerns about the pipeline path through Great Sand Hills, Saskatchewan and a new residential neighbourhood in Regina, to First Nation opposition like this, this, and this, vibrant community resistance like North Bay’s which is spreading, and an ongoing Ontario Energy Board review of the pipeline.

This hasn’t even gotten to Quebec where 23 municipalities recently declared their opposition to Energy East, the provincial government has agreed to review the pipeline and include climate change impacts and Cacouna, where TransCanada wants to build a port beside an endangered beluga whale habitat, being contested in the courts and now the subject of a community referendum.

And opposition doesn’t end there, as some would have us believe.

Our meetings with Mayors, First Nation leaders, landowners and farmers, fishermen and women affirmed this. New opportunities for lasting relationships, united in our opposition to this project which is all risk and little reward for Atlantic Canadians, confirmed this.

Meeting with Mayor of Digby

Meeting with Mayor of Digby

Conversations are already underway forming local groups organizing against Energy East in Annapolis Royal concerned about the threat to the Bay of Fundy with the rise in tanker traffic, in Edmundston where TransCanada was already forced to re-route the pipeline path (which is still a threat to the local watershed).

Fredericton public forum

Fredericton public forum

Expect to hear more from landowners in New Brunswick, frustrated by TransCanada’s antics, fishermen and women on seeing tankers carrying eight times what was spilled by Exxon Valdez in the Bay of Fundy and frontline communities in Saint John facing the prospect of local spill threats and increased air pollution (let’s not forget what happened in South Portland on very similar local concerns).

Saint John public forum

Saint John public forum

The Atlantic tour would not have happened without the support and efforts of local residents and groups including Council chapters, Fundy Baykeeper, Conservation Council of New Brunswick, Ecology Action Centre, Stop Energy East Halifax, Leadnow and

Be part of the growing wall of opposition: