CBC reports, “TransCanada Corp. has turned down the City of Fredericton’s request for a public information meeting on the proposed Energy East pipeline. Council asked for the meeting in January, so residents could ask questions about the [1.1 million barrel per day] project… Environmental activist Mark D’Arcy has been advocating for a public meeting in Fredericton. He made a presentation to the city’s public safety and environment committee on the issue in December.”
D’Arcy is a Council of Canadians Fredericton chapter activist and was recently hired as our New Brunswick Energy East campaigner.
TransCanada has refused requests since 2013 to hold a public meeting in Fredericton. D’Arcy says, “It’s in our interest as residents here to be allowed to have the opportunity to publicly ask questions and hear the answers.” He has also stated, “Citizens need to be properly consulted about the health and public safety implications of these large projects before they are approved.”
The CBC article notes, “In a letter to Fredericton city council, received by [Councillor John] MacDermid on Monday, TransCanada says it has already held 17 open houses in New Brunswick on the proposed pipeline for more than 2,500 visitors.” But perhaps the reality is that they simply do not want to deal with the questions D’Arcy has proposed they answer:
Will TransCanada be required to post a multi-billion dollar bond as a clean-up fund in the event of a pipeline spill?
Will benzene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and heavy metals be used in large concentrations to dilute the bitumen in order to ship in pipelines?
Will computer modelling be conducted to predict whether or not toxic chemicals from an oil spill would reach the base of the Nashwaak River, the critical location of windows into the Fredericton aquifer?
Will the Government of New Brunswick and TransCanada initiate meetings with the Wolastoq Nation [given the pipeline crosses their unceded territory and would affect their waterways]?
Will this project jeopardize Canada’s chance of meetings its greenhouse gas targets?
In the letter rejecting the meeting, Patrick Lacroix, the New Brunswick lead on the Energy East pipeline, writes, “We respectfully decline the suggestion that we hold a public meeting in Fredericton. Our focus remains on communities and landowners directly affected by the pipeline route.”
Lacroix does not appear to explain though why TransCanada met with the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce and the Fredericton North Rotary Club more than eleven months ago. One clue might be this: In 2013, 72.5 per cent of the membership of the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce supported the pipeline, while 18 per cent did not have an opinion.
For more on our campaign against the Energy East pipeline, please click here.
WIN! Fredericton city council votes to ask TransCanada for a public meeting on the Energy East pipeline (January 2015 blog)
Photo: Fredericton-based Council of Canadians campaigner Mark D’Arcy.