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WIN! Gatineau city council rejects the Energy East pipeline

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin. Photo credit: Ottawa Citizen.

On September 29, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow wrote to about 2,000 of our supporters in the Ottawa-Gatineau area.

She noted, “I urgently need your help. Residents in and around Ottawa and Gatineau, like you and me, need to ready ourselves because the fight to stop the proposed Energy East pipeline is entering a pivotal phase. Over the coming weeks, our city councillors across the National Capital Region will be considering their position on the controversial mega-project and making a recommendation either for or against it. The City of Gatineau’s environment commission will hear arguments from the proponents and opponents of the Energy East pipeline on October 6 before making a recommendation to city council on whether or not to support the pipeline.”

Council of Canadians energy and climate justice campaigner Daniel Cayley-Daoust spoke at that environment committee meeting on October 6. He told us afterwards, “There were eight people who spoke for 2-minutes each, nobody was for the project. The environment committee adopted a resolution to recommend that City Council would oppose the Energy East project.‎ So onwards to City Council on October 18th!”

La Revue now reports (in French), “By a majority vote, Gatineau elected officials have indicated their opposition to East Pipeline Project Energy. In the vote, 17 elected voted in favor of the resolution presented to oppose the project, while 2 voted against elected. In addition to opposing the East Energy project, Gatineau indicated in this resolution its opposition to all pipeline projects and pipeline endangering the health and environment of the population. The tabling of this resolution came in response to an invitation by the Committee on the Environment people in favor and disagree with this pipeline project to come to speak to a meeting of the commission.”

Both the environment committee and City Council votes came after the release of a joint Council of Canadians-Ecology Ottawa report prepared by the independent Montreal-based technical firm Savaria Experts-Conseils Inc. on the impacts of an Energy East pipeline spill on drinking water in Gatineau and Ottawa.

Abdelkader Aiachi, a Savaria Experts-Conseils geoscientist, says, “A spill that is allowed to flow down the Rideau River for 48 hours would run through the heart of the City of Ottawa and reach one of Gatineau’s drinking water sources. Similarly, and this does depend on a variety of factors, a spill in the Mississippi would affect Gatineau and Ottawa drinking water sources after about 60 hours.”

In Barlow’s letter to our supporters in the Ottawa-Gatineau area, she also highlighted, “The City of Ottawa has struck a National Energy Board working group. In the coming weeks, they will prepare a recommendation to the City’s environment committee on Energy East. The Council of Canadians is working to secure a meeting with the City’s group to deliver our new spill report and present our concerns.”

Earlier this month, Metro News reported, “The City of Ottawa hasn’t taken a stance on Energy East yet, although it will be an official commentator in the stalled National Energy Board hearings when they eventually resume.”

In June 2013, the Ottawa Citizen noted, “Calls to Mayor Jim Watson’s office inquiring whether TransCanada has approached the city were not returned. A spokesman for the mayor said no meetings have taken place between the mayor and TransCanada. However, according to the City of Ottawa’s lobbying registry, on April 17 a TransCanada representative met with city officials including city manager Kent Kirkpatrick and deputy city manager Nancy Schepers, with some subsequent correspondence. On June 10 another TransCanada representative met with George Young, Watson’s senior adviser for communications and operations.”

It is not known when the National Energy Board hearings on the Energy East pipeline will resume, but an NEB recommendation on the pipeline is expected in 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.