Tour warns Bay of Fundy residents of Energy East pipeline tanker traffic threat

Energy East Cornwallis
Our public forum in Cornwallis last night. Photo by Tori Ball.

Our 5-city tour against the controversial Energy East pipeline had its second stop in Nova Scotia last night with a public forum in Cornwallis. This town is located in southwestern Nova Scotia on the shore of the Annapolis Basin which connects to the Bay of Fundy.

On Facebook, Council of Canadians energy and climate justice campaigner Andrea Harden-Donahue posted this message: "In Cornwallis NS population around 400. Around 140 in the room to hear why Energy East is our risk their reward." And Halifax-based Council of Canadians organizer Tori Ball tweeted, "@CouncilofCDNs #stopenergyeast #Atlantic tour 2nd stop a full house and then some - opposition is growing to @TransCanada" along with a photo of Harden-Donahue setting up more chairs as the audience grew.

Why visit Cornwallis? Irving Oil intends to build a new $300 million marine terminal near Saint John to export the bitumen brought there by the Energy East pipeline. It's conceivable that the Energy East pipeline could result in about 225 supertankers a year travelling through the Bay of Fundy to markets in India, China and Europe. Harden-Donahue explains that even though the town is not near the proposed pipeline, "Fishing, particularly for scallops, has always been a main economic driver for the community, tourism is increasingly important as well. Both would be threatened by a tanker spill in the Bay of Fundy."

Last night, Ball tweeted these statements by Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow at the public forum: "We are talking about 1 ship going down would be 8x Exxon Valdez spill in the Bay of Fundy", "We who are blessed to live with water have a responsibility to take care of this water. We have to say no to Energy East", "We are living in the energy paradigm of the past. Extreme energy is going to lead us dangerously into the past" and Hundreds of First Nations have said that these pipelines will not pass".

Last night featured Barlow, Harden-Donahue, Cherri Foytlin and Hubert Saulnier. Foytlin shared her first-hand account of the aftermath of the BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. She warned about the chemicals used to disperse the oil in the water and of her daughter having kidney stones, of fish with lesions, and children experiencing asthma and autoimmune disorders. Saulnier, a local fisher and President of Local 9 Maritime Fishermen's Union, is on the recovery team for the North Atlantic right whale and worked to change the traffic lanes for large vessels coming in and out of the Bay to avoid collisions with these endangered mammals.

The tour now moves to New Brunswick with public events in Saint John (on Wednesday at Lily Lake Pavillion), Fredericton (on November 4 at Wilmot United Church) and Edmundston (on November 6 at Edifice Maillet). For more on the tour, please see our website and our Facebook page.

Further reading
Council launches 5-city Energy East tour in Halifax
Last night public forum in Halifax kicked off a two week tour about why Energy East is all risk and little reward for Atlantic Canada (October 27 blog by Andrea Harden-Donahue)