Skip to content

Thunder Bay chapter challenges Energy East ‘consultation’

Photo by TBNewsWatch

The Council of Canadians Thunder Bay chapter and allies challenged a meeting on the Energy East pipeline yesterday.

TBNewsWatch reports, “A consultation over converting a natural gas pipeline to carry crude oil through the region collapsed within 15 minutes on Thursday evening. Protesters who opposed the Energy East Pipeline in principle disrupted the Common Voice Northwest consultation regarding what constitutes a ‘significant water crossing’. The group took the stage and began making its own presentation shortly after the KBM Resources Group consultants explained their vision for the consultation.”

Common Voice Northwest is an organization that includes representatives from the Northern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA) and the Northwestern Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce (NOACC). Both these groups have publicly endorsed the 1.1 million barrel per day tar sands export pipeline.

The article highlights, “Council of Canadians local chairwoman Ruth Cook argued the consultation was too narrow. Where Common Voice Northwest sought to consult over waterways, Cook considers the issue to include Canada’s political commitment to limiting climate change and its economic commitment to shifting its energy mix away from fossil fuels.”

The tar sands crude that would be needed to fill the pipeline could generate up to 32 million tonnes of additional upstream greenhouse gas emissions each year.

Cook stated, “This inquiry has taken this question that is this wide and they’ve brought it down to here saying, ‘let’s define significant waterways, ones we have to protect in case there’s a spill’. Once you’ve decided to answer that question, the scope gets narrower and narrower and there’s no place to go except straight to approving a pipeline.”

It was also highlighted that pipeline spills in river systems leading into Lake Superior would impact Thunder Bay’s drinking water, that all waterways are significant given the pipeline would cross all the major rivers that flow into Lake Superior, and that the expansion of the tar sands that this pipeline would facilitate would be a climate disaster.

In December 2016, the Trudeau government set the stage for the resumption of hearings on the pipeline by appointing three new members to the National Energy Board. Council of Canadians Energy East-New Brunswick campaigner Mark D’Arcy has questioned the appointment of Don Ferguson to the panel given he was a member of the transition team for New Brunswick premier Brian Gallant, an outspoken advocate for the pipeline.

It is not known when the National Energy Board hearings on the Energy East pipeline will resume, but an NEB recommendation on the pipeline had been expected by March 2018. The Trudeau government would then have until June 2018 to make its decision on the pipeline. TransCanada, the company behind the pipeline, wants Energy East operational by late 2019 or early 2020.

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

To read the full TBNewsWatch article, click here.