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TransCanada hasn’t figured out how to safely run Energy East across the Ottawa River

The Ottawa River at Pointe-Fortune, near where the Energy East pipeline would cross the waterway.

The Council of Canadians has repeatedly highlighted how TransCanada’s proposed 1.1 million barrel per day Energy East tar sands pipeline would threaten waterways and drinking water.

Now it’s being reported that TransCanada “still hasn’t figured out” how to safely run the pipeline across the Ottawa River and the St. Lawrence River.

The National Observer reports, “Christian Foisy was puzzled when he saw that a new 38,885 page cross-Canada oil pipeline application, submitted this week, had a ‘placeholder’ document describing a rather sensitive location close to his own home, just west of Montreal. The ‘placeholder’ means that Alberta-based TransCanada Corp still hasn’t figured out how to safely run this new proposed pipeline, Energy East, through a section of the Ottawa River, near Montreal.”

The article adds, “TransCanada has known for about two years that its initial plan to install Energy East through the Ottawa River was flawed, based on an environmental report prepared by a consulting firm, Foisy said. This was submitted in 2014 as part of the company’s original application for the project, but the [National Energy Board] has deleted this report from its website along with other ‘outdated’ documents in response to a request from the company that was sent on May 6, 2016.”

For their part, “[TransCanada spokesperson Tim Duboyce] said that the company believes that it can find the right river crossing solutions to ensure that Energy East would be a safe pipeline. …Duboyce also said that TransCanada has asked engineering firms to review all options related to river crossings and other environmental safety issues to ensure that the company is proceeding with safe and appropriate solutions.”

The article notes, “The company says it also needs to do more seismic testing – using air cannons – to determine the best way to build a concrete tunnel for the pipeline about 100 metres below the floor of the Saint Lawrence River, west of Quebec City.”

On March 10, Le Devoir reported (in French) that the Parti Quebecois and Quebec Solidaire are opposed to the Liberal government’s granting of “the certificate of approval on February 29, 2016 to TransCanada for seismic surveys in the St. Lawrence River” and that they are also against “the granting of a certificate of authorization for carrying out seismic surveys in the Ottawa River”.

The seismic testing in the Ottawa River would take place near Pointe-Fortune, Quebec which is located about 80 kilometres west of Montreal (and about 125 kilometres east of Ottawa).

The Mohawks of Kanesatake oppose the Energy East pipeline and highlight that the pipeline threatens their drinking water and cuts through their traditional hunting and fishing grounds. They have also stated that moving ahead with the project without their consent is a violation of their right to free, prior and informed consent as recognized under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP). On May 9, Indigenous Affairs minister Carolyn Bennett announced at the United Nations in New York that Canada has now fully endorsed UNDRIP.

The Mohawks of Kanesatake have said that TransCanada must abide by Mohawk Law and that they will not let the pipeline pass through Mohawk lands and waters.

In December 2014, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow was in Kanesatake to express her support for the Declaration by the Kanien’kehà:ka Kanehsatà:ke Territory. The declaration states, “We the Kanien’kehà:ka people of Kanehsatà:ke … assert our authority and jurisdiction upon our un-ceded traditional. Resource extraction and their accompanying pipeline by companies like TransCanada, Enbridge, Gazoduc and condo development by GDB Construction violate the land rights of the Kanehsatà:ke Mohawks and threaten the health of the environment.”

Barlow has also stated, “To protect the St. Lawrence River we must ban all transport of tar sands bitumen on or near the St. Lawrence River.”

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