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WIN! Ontario Energy Board final report says risks of Energy East outweigh its potential benefits

Andrea Harden-Donahue speaking at OEB consultation

The Canadian Press reports, “The Ontario Energy Board says the environmental risks of the $12 billion Energy East pipeline project outweigh the potential benefits, and warns it will drive up natural gas prices.” OEB vice-president Peter Fraser says, “What we have found is there is an imbalance between the economic and environmental risks of the project and the expected benefits for Ontarians.”

This framing closely resembles our campaign slogan – Our Risk. Their Reward.

The news article adds, “After 15 months of consultations with people in communities along the route of the pipeline in Ontario, the energy board found people are worried about possible polluting of lakes, rivers and drinking water supplies.” The Ontario Energy Board vice-president notes, “The top concern expressed was the risk of an oil spill as the pipeline runs new or across many waterways.” The report also calls for a full review of TransCanada’s safety record while raising concerns about sections of existing pipeline patched with polyethylene tape.

These were two of the key issues raised by the Council of Canadians, which was referenced seven times in the OEB report.

Among our interventions, Council of Canadians energy and climate justice campaigner Andrea Harden-Donahue spoke at the OEB public hearing in Kanata while our Thunder Bay chapter spoke at the OEB hearing in their community. We also worked with allies in other communities where hearings were held, encouraged people to present at the hearings, and produced materials to help them raise key issues at the hearings. And to help mobilize public opinion on this issue, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow spoke in Kenora, Thunder Bay, North Bay, Ottawa, Kemptville and Cornwall in April 2014 and Harden-Donahue wrote the 32-page paper Energy East: Where Oil Meets Water in August 2014.

The OEB report was commissioned by Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli. Now Magazine reports, “For the government’s part, Chiarelli has said that Ontario will be taking citizen concerns to the feds and the National Energy Board (NEB), which have final say over pipeline construction.”

The energy minister says, “I can assure you that Ontario plans to be an active intervenor in the National Energy Board approval process and our participation will reflect the concerns of the Ontario public to the federal regulator.”

Further reading
Ontario Energy Board report echoes national concerns (August 2015 media release)
Council of Canadians at OEB hearing on Energy East pipeline this evening (January 2015 blog)
Thunder Bay chapter opposes Energy East at OEB hearings (January 2015 blog)
Council of Canadians submission to OEB on Energy East (May 2014 blog by Andrea Harden-Donahue)
Thunder Bay chapter tells the OEB to reject the Energy East pipeline (April 2014 blog)
Council of Canadians joins Stakeholder Group for Ontario Energy Board Energy East Consultation (January 2014 blog by Andrea Harden-Donahue)

Photo: Harden-Donahue speaks at OEB public hearing in Kanata, January 22, 2015.