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Energy East pipeline: Maude Barlow raises alarm in Winnipeg and visits St. Norbert pipeline explosion site in La Salle River

April 11, Winnipeg

Winnipeg – This weekend, Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians, Ben Gotschall of Bold Nebraska, and Fawn Wapioke of Shoal Lake 39 First Nation will headline a public forum to discuss why Energy East is all risk and little reward for Winnipeg.

The controversial Energy East export project would see a 43-year-old natural gas pipeline in the area converted to ship 1.1 million barrels per day of crude oil.

“With oil prices plummeting, now is the time to invest in measures that generate good green jobs, sustainable energy production and responsible consumption,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “We should not lock ourselves into a massive pipeline planned to last for at least another 40 years, spurring tar sands expansion and threatening waterways with a diluted bitumen spill.”

In Manitoba, the pipeline crosses or passes near major waterways including the Assiniboine River, Red River and the Shoal Lake watershed. It also crosses two metres below the sole aqueduct for Winnipeg’s drinking water.

Diluted bitumen has been proven to sink when spilled in waterways, making it near impossible to fully clean up.

Barlow and Gotschall will also visit St. Norbert, where a TransCanada pipeline right beside the pipe slated for Energy East ruptured in the La Salle River, levelling a nearby house. 

In a recent presentation to Fredericton’s Chamber of Commerce, a TransCanada representative stated that a TransCanada pipe has never ruptured in a watercourse. This stands in conflict with the 1996 rupture, described in a Transportation and Safety Board report: “Several eye witnesses saw flying debris and a geyser of mud and water shooting up from the La Salle River, at a point where TCPL crosses the river.”

“Over the past six years of fighting the TransCanada Keystone XL export pipeline, farmers, ranchers and tribes in the U.S. have stood up for our land, water, and property rights,” says Ben Gotschall, rancher and Energy Director for Bold Nebraska. “I am honoured to be able to share my experiences with our neighbours to the north.”

The tour, supported by the Council of Canadians, the National Farmers Union and local partners, will present key information in a series of public forums. This includes information on the risks to waterways and farms of a diluted bitumen spill, TransCanada’s questionable pipeline safety record, the pipeline’s effect on tar sands expansion, and experiences opposing TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline.

Public forum:

When: Saturday, April 11, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Fort Garry Hotel, Provencher Ballroom, 222 Broadway, Winnipeg, MB


  • Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, on protecting our water.
  • Ben Gotschall, Energy Director for Bold Nebraska, on ranchers’ opposition to Keystone XL.
  • Fawn Wapioke, Chief of Iskatewizaagegan (Shoal Lake 39) and member of the Grassroots Indigenous Water Defence.

Site visit to St. Norbert, where TransCanada has already had a leak into water:

When: Saturday, April 11, 12:45 p.m.
Where: Aurora Farms, 4265 Waverley Street, St. Norbert, MB

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