TransCanada is organizing several ‘open houses’ in Saskatchewan to promote their 1.1 million barrel per day Energy East tar sands pipeline. These events have taken place in Burstall (October 15) and Cabri (October 16) and are scheduled for Whitewood (tonight), Moose Jaw (October 22) and White City (October 23).
In Cabri, a town of about 400 people located 310 kilometres west of Regina and just east of the Great Sandhills Ecological Reserve, Mayor Dave Gossard supports the pipeline. He says, “To me, it just makes all kinds of sense [because it will reduce dependence on foreign oil].” But Council of Canadians Regina chapter activist Jim Elliott says this is a “myth” and that “these companies want to export 100 per cent of it as fast as possible.”
Even the premier of Saskatchewan appears to contradict Mayor Gossard. The Regina Leader Post reports, “Premier Brad Wall has supported Energy East, arguing it would let Saskatchewan oil be sold at something approaching market price – as opposed to at a discount forced by limited pipeline capacity.”
The Postmedia newspaper (with a circulation of more than 40,000 readers) adds, “The Council of Canadians fears the conversion of the existing gas pipeline also could mean ‘dramatic reductions’ in access to western gas for Ontario and Quebec ‘which could increase costs and cause shortages’.”
That’s a view shared by the consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie, India-based IFFCO Canada Enterprises Ltd., Quebec’s biggest gas distributor Gaz Métro, Ontario’s Union Gas Ltd. and Enbridge Gas Distribution. Last week, Wood Mackenzie told the Quebec regulatory body Regie de l’energie TransCanada’s plan to convert their natural gas pipeline to oil would create a 20-per-cent shortfall in gas pipeline capacity in eastern Ontario and Quebec markets. The Council of Canadians has also argued it would also increase our dependence on fracked gas from the United States.
The Leader Post also notes, “The Council, which has been critical of TransCanada and its pipeline safety record, says on its website the use of ‘converted’ pipelines would take Energy East through or near Burstall, Cabri, Caron, Chaplin, Grenfell, Herbert, Montmartre, Moose Jaw, Moosomin, Regina and White City, plus 11 First Nations. Assuming it follows existing pipelines, that would bring it near the growing Harbour Landing subdivision in southwest Regina.” To see a map of the route of the Energy East pipeline across the Prairie provinces, please click here.
For more on our campaign against Energy East, see here.