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Council of Canadians responds to Notley-Wynne joint press conference

OTTAWA – In response to comments on TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline made by Premier Kathleen Wynne at today’s joint press conference with Premier Notley, the Council of Canadians issued the following statement:

“Premier Wynne is not listening to Ontarians or the Ontario Energy Board,” said Mark Calzavara, Ontario-Quebec Regional Organizer with the Council of Canadians. “Wynne is sweeping legitimate concerns about TransCanada’s performance and plans under the rug. The Ontario Energy Board’s review of Energy East found the project’s risks outweigh the benefits for Ontario.”

TransCanada has had eight ruptures in the last six years, including four ruptures in the last 26 months. Most of its pipeline spills are discovered by people, not electronic monitoring systems. Energy East would cross critical waterways and drinking water sources such as the Nipigon River (flowing quickly into Lake Superior), Trout Lake, the Rideau River, the Oxford aquifer and the Ottawa River. The Ontario Energy Board’s expert report found TransCanada’s application incomplete and lacking in a number of areas regarding the protection of waterways.

“Premier Notley’s proposed cap won't constrain the amount of carbon pollution the Energy East pipeline could enable,” said Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy and Climate Campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “This massive pipeline threatens to unleash enough carbon pollution to undo Ontario’s progress in phasing out coal. It is entirely incompatible with Prime Minister Trudeau’s support for a 1.5 degree limit on global warming affirmed in Paris.”

The Energy East pipeline would enable around 32 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year and allow for an up to 40 per cent increase in production in the tar sands. Eighty-five per cent of tar sands bitumen has to be left in the ground to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. This means no more than 7.5 billion barrels of oil from the tar sands can be produced over the next 35 years. Energy East alone threatens to exceed that carbon budget within about 19 years. A 1.5 degrees Celsius target would mean even fewer barrels of oil could be extracted from the tar sands and shipped via Energy East.

“It is time for political leaders to recognize the writing on the wall. Getting oil to tidewater and further expanding the Alberta tar sands is our past,” added Harden-Donahue. “We must shift to finding ways to support impacted oil workers and their families while prioritizing investments in truly sustainable solutions like public transit, renewable energy, energy conservation and energy efficiency. This is where our future is, and where we can generate good, green jobs.”

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