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Thunder Bay chapter opposes Energy East at OEB hearings

Thunder Bay Chapter

Thunder Bay chapter.

About 175 people attended an Ontario Energy Board (OEB) consultation in Thunder Bay last night, including local Council of Canadians chapter activists.

Thunder Bay chapter activist Ruth Cook writes critically about the initial presentations (“weak because so much information was missing from TransCanada”) and the answers that were given to them on key issues (on the question of bitumen “we were told that all oil is the same”).

She adds, “The tenor of the questions and comments changed and we went on to broader concerns like climate change, benefits from a pipeline, risks from tar sands extraction and shipping of its products, and this is where water issues came in a great deal more. Water seemed to be the major concern for the group last night. …Water issues were also a target of much discussion because of lack of any information on the subject from TransCanada. There were many comments from the room about this lack of information and the consequent meaninglessness of this consultation.”

That view is backed by a CBC Thunder Bay article which reports on comments by an OEB official on this. Their communications consultant John McGrath says, “There wasn’t enough information … to make a determination on about 95 per cent of the sources of drinking water and the sources of water that people use along the pipeline route …There had not been enough information in the pipeline application to ensure that the highest environmental standards were being met. [The OEB wants TransCanada to] provide a list of significant water crossings so that people can see whether or not their local source of water will be protected with, for instance, valves at either side of the crossing, so that in the event of a spill the oil can be shut off quite quickly to reduce the threat of contamination to their water supply.”

Cook highlights, “During the summation, there were several calls from several tables to simply dump the whole project and leave the oil in the ground.”

In the chapter’s January newsletter they note, “The next step we are taking in our battle against Energy East is taking a deputation to City Council, as part of a coalition of local not-for-profit groups. We have over 1000 signatures on a petition asking Council to take a stand against this pipeline. The date of the deputation is probably Feb. 2nd at City Hall – we will let you know when confirmed.”

As for the OEB consultations, the next ones will take place in Kapuskasing (on January 19), Timmins (January 20), North Bay (January 21), Ottawa (January 22) and Cornwall (January 27). If you live in these communities, please be sure to attend the consultations and raise your objections to this pipeline project.

For a Council of Canadians backgrounder with details and arguments for these hearings, please click here. For more about our campaign against the Energy East pipeline, click here.

Further reading
Thunder Bay chapter defends the watersheds of Lake Superior’s North Shore (March 2014 blog)
Thunder Bay chapter tells the OEB to reject the Energy East pipeline (April 2014 blog)
Thunder Bay chapter releases election report card on Energy East pipeline (October 2014 blog)
Thunder Bay chapter signs joint letter demanding NEB consider climate in its review of Energy East pipeline (December 2014 blog)