Stay strong on Energy East, Premier Couillard

Premier Philippe Couillard recently made a mistake. You can call him out on it.

Last week, alongside the Premier of Ontario, Couillard announced seven conditions for the Energy East pipeline.

The pipeline would fail any serious review of these conditions. That’s why the premiers of Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick – who support the pipeline – reacted so quickly and fiercely, in an onslaught of lobbying and media criticism.

Premier Couillard has since backed down from his stronger position on Energy East. In a press conference alongside Alberta’s Premier Prentice, Couillard suggested that the conditions will not include the upstream climate pollution impacts of filling the pipeline.

That’s like trying to understand the environmental impacts of printing a newspaper without considering the trees cut down to make it.

This clearly conflicts with the unanimous resolution passed by the Quebec National Assembly calling for the provincial assessment of Energy East to include its global contributions to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s time to take action. Phone and email Premier Couillard and let him know that you expect him to respect the unanimous Quebec National Assembly resolution, seriously apply the seven conditions for Energy East and reject the pipeline.

1. Call Premier Philippe Couillard’s office at 418-643-5321 or 514-873-3411. Please let us know that you called!

Sample script:

  • The tar sands are reaching the limits of pipeline capacity. Energy East would allow the tar sands to expand, unleashing climate pollution equivalent to adding 7 million cars to our roads.
  • TransCanada has had five pipeline ruptures in the past 14 months. Energy East crosses important provincial waterways, including drinking water sources, risking a massive diluted bitumen spill that would be nearly impossible to fully clean up.
  • Quebec can be a climate leader and protect waterways, but not by supporting Energy East.

2. Send an email through the Quebec government website. Use the sample text below or write your own message for an even greater impact.

Dear Mr. Couillard,

I was heartened by your recent announcement of seven conditions for the Energy East pipeline.

Any serious application of these conditions would see our province say “no” to Energy East, which is all risk and little reward for Quebecers.

I am thoroughly dismayed that you’ve changed your position and have now adopted Prime Minister Harper, Premier Prentice and Premier Wall’s views on the Energy East pipeline, refusing to consider the upstream emissions this pipeline would cause.

This clearly conflicts with the unanimous resolution passed by the Quebec National Assembly calling for the provincial assessment of Energy East to include its global contributions to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.

The tar sands are reaching the limits of current pipeline capacity. Industry plans to triple production are dependent on new export infrastructure. At 1.1 million barrels per day, Energy East could spur a close to 40 per cent expansion of the tar sands.

Filling the Energy East pipeline would unleash 32 million tonnes of carbon pollution every year – the equivalent of adding 7 million cars to our roads.

Any genuine review of Energy East’s climate impacts must include upstream climate pollution, not just the emissions associated with building the pipeline in Quebec.

My concerns with the pipeline don’t end here. The proposed route crosses critical waterways and drinking water sources, such as the rivière des Outaouais, des Mille-Îles, des Prairies, Saint-Maurice andMadawaska as well as the Fleuve Saint-Laurent and Lake Témiscouata.

While TransCanada will insist it is compliant with your condition for “the highest available technical standards for public safety and environmental protection,” Quebec must look at TransCanada’s track record. TransCanada has had five pipeline ruptures in the past 14 months. Most of its pipeline spills are discovered by people, not electronic monitoring systems. Energy East would be transporting diluted bitumen produced in the tar sands, which sinks when spilled in water, making it nearly impossible to fully clean up.

If Quebec wants to be a climate leader and protect critical provincial waterways, we must say “no” to Energy East.

Sincerely,

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