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TransCanada excludes Red Head residents concerned about Energy East pipeline

Red Head

The Red Head community in Saint John, New Brunswick.

Red Head is a neighbourhood on the eastern edge of Saint John, New Brunswick. The Energy East pipeline would end in this community situated on the Bay of Fundy. The neighbourhood was recently rezoned as an industrial area and risks being the epicenter of the infrastructure for this pipeline.

CBC recently reported, “Irving Oil Ltd. and TransCanada Corp. have both been active in the real estate market in the Red Head area in recent weeks. …Irving Oil isn’t commenting on [these] purchases, which took place Dec. 10 when deeds to five properties owned by two Red Head families were transferred to 658273 N.B. Ltd. …Well over 10 square kilometres of land in the immediate area is already registered to the same company. …It is unknown whether the purchases are tied to the proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal, the Energy East Pipeline project or to a third, indirect, project, such as a heavy oil upgrader refinery.”

The article adds, “Community activists, such as Gordon Dalzell of the Clean Air Coalition, can only speculate on what is planned for the land. …Whatever the case, Dalzell says people in the community have a right to know what changes could come to the neighbourhood.” He says, “That has an impact on the social life of the community. When you look at the development in the community this is so important and it affects so many people. I think the public have the right to know more what’s going on behind the scenes here.”

Red Head resident Lynaya McKinley, who lives just three kilometres from the terminus of the proposed pipeline, adds, “The risks are just too high. My community’s health would be put at risk by an inevitable spill.”

We agree with the Clean Air Coalition, McKinley and other community residents concerned about this project.

Council of Canadians campaigner Andrea Harden-Donahue has commented, “Energy East would see the pipeline end in a community called Red Head, recently rezoned as an industrial area, which would be home to a new 18 tank terminal storing over 1 million litres of oil. The spectre of a spill and volatile organic compounds making it into their air is a growing concern.” The crude oil from the 1.1 million barrels per day Energy East pipeline that would be stored in tanks before being exported on supertankers through the Bay of Fundy would emit volatile organic compounds, including cancer-causing benzene and toluene.”

We are additionally concerned by reports that TransCanada has set up a community liaison committee that excludes numerous members of the community who want to bring forward their concerns about this project.

TransCanada only sent letters to people living right next to the tank field and deep water port to be on this liaison committee, not the whole ‘ground zero’ community affected by this project. City councillors and residents have asked for the process to be more inclusive, but TransCanada refuses. While the company claims to have met with all communities affected, we have been told that residents have tried twice to enter community liaison meetings being held at the Red Head United Church and have been refused entry.

The Energy East pipeline would impact this community and they have the right to be heard. We call on the company to ensure that inclusive community consultations take place and that local concerns about air quality and oil spills are recognized and respected.