A very straight-forward request to Sackville councillors was made tonight by Mount Allison University students. Sackville is one of the most vulnerable communities in New Brunswick to climate change and the extraction and burning of tar sands bitumen only increases the problem of climate change. Sackville Town Council was asked to adopt a resolution that will say no to Energy East (see text at end of article in Notes).
Mount Alison student Claire Neufeld said, "The meeting went well, I am hopeful that the motion will be passed next week."
(Left to right: Mount Allison University students Katia Mckercher, Naia Noyes-West and Mara Ostafichuk, and Mark D'Arcy at New Brunswick Environmental Network meeting in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Nov. 19, 2016)
The group of undergraduate students formed 'Sackville, No Energy East' this fall to seek an official announcement in opposition of the Energy East Pipeline by both the Town of Sackville and Mount Allison University (the institution and their student union, MASU). This is a student-led initiative that was started in the Environmental Activism course given by Dr. Brad Walters, the winner of this year's highest teaching award at Mount Allison University.
Sackville, No Energy East has already met with the Mount Allison Student Union, networked with DIVEST MTA, held information tables, collected hundreds of student surveys on Energy East, made presentations at meetings of the Peace and Friendship Alliance and the New Brunswick Environmental Network, helped organize a film showing of "Pipeline, Power, and Democracy", and circulated information and the online petition against Energy East from the Council of Canadians.
(Mount Allison students Naia Noyes-West, Ro Leitner, Will Balser, and Claire Neufeld
at Peace and Friendship Meeting, Sackville, Nov. 5, 2016)
Tonight's Town Council meeting took place in the wake of the unprecedented support against the Dakota Access pipeline and yesterday's victory at Standing Rock. The students are clearly affected by the events unfolding thousands of kilometres away.
Mount Allison University student Will Balser explained, "All I can say is that I'm relieved to finally see some sort of action on behalf of the government in regards to a blatant violation of human rights and traditional native lands. This is only the first step in the fight at Standing Rock, but is a significant move in the right direction for everyone who has our planets future in mind. Seeing a federal government recognize the gravity of their decisions and using their influence positively gives me hope that our municipal government can do the same."
Mount Allison University student Claire Neufeld explained, "I feel that what has happened in Standing Rock really shows the power of the people and that people can make a difference. In terms of Sackville, it is definitely not on the scale of what has happened in Standing Rock but I do feel that that we are showing that people can make a difference even if it is on a small scale. I also feel that there is a connection happening across North America and starting around the world as people start standing up to fight the same fight against the pipelines."
(1) Sackville and the surrounding Tantramar area are among the most vulnerable regions to the impacts of climate change in New Brunswick.
24% of the Town of Sackville is in the fresh water floodplain and the risk due to salt water flooding is "imminent" (see the Town of Sackville's Powerpoint Presentation to the Legislative Select Committee on Climate Change, August 31, 2016).
"A number of freshwater flood events in the last few years have cut off major routes in the municipality and flooded numerous homes and businesses resulting in costly damage that insurance does not cover. In addition, sea level rise and intensifying storm surges have caused the Bay to over top the dykes by 1-‐2cm in places around Sackville." (see the Corporate Climate Change Adaptation Plan, Sackville, New Brunswick, March 2016, page 6).
(2) Text of resolution which Sackville Town Council was presented on Dec. 5, 2016
WHEREAS global climate change is a real threat and the extraction and burning of fossil fuels exacerbates this threat and,
WHEREAS transporting diluted bitumen through Canadian communities, sensitive ecosystems and waterways is demonstrably dangerous to health and safety and,
WHEREAS encouraging and investing in such activities would not be consistent with our stated goals of sustainability and,
WHEREAS a more rational course of action would be to use scarce economic resources to develop and expand the use of renewable resources,
BE IT RESOLVED that the Town of Sackville request that the Government of Canada protect the health and safety of our communities by denying approval for the Energy East pipeline.
(3) Earlier blog article on 10 Compelling Reasons Why Mount Allison University and Sackville Should Oppose Energy East