Ottawa — With the official review of the Energy East pipeline launching today, a large cross-section of community and environmental organizations representing hundreds of thousands of Canadians said if the National Energy Board’s revised review process, which is already beleaguered with problems, is credible it will show there is no social licence for Energy East, and the pipeline can’t and won’t be built.
“Opposition to Energy East is overwhelming and steadily building because people across Canada understand the tangible risks of a massive oil pipeline to their drinking water and climate,” said Patrick Bonin of Greenpeace. “As long as the National Energy Board truly listens to the people, they will find there is no social licence for Energy East, and the pipeline can’t and will not be built.”
More than half the population of Quebec and 300 Quebec municipalities, including the Montreal Metropolitan Community, representing 3.8 million residents, are opposed to Energy East. Just yesterday the Assembly of First Nations in Quebec and Labrador officially opposed Energy East as well as the Wolastoq Grand Council in New Brunswick. A petition — www.savefundy.ca — garnered more than 8,100 signatures, while the New Brunswick city of Edmundston is opposed to the proposed pipeline route through their protected watershed. Opposition in Fredericton caused the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to cancel their campaign asking Fredericton and other municipalities across Canada to send letters of support for Energy East to the Prime Minister and thousands of concerned citizens in Ontario have attended the provincial Energy Board hearings.
“Prime Minister Trudeau has said communities must give their permission if Energy East is to be seriously considered as an option, but with hundreds of thousands of people and hundreds of communities already opposed, that condition cannot be met,” said Teika Newton of Transition Initiative Kenora.
Groups also raised concern about the process itself, as there is no clear pathway to respecting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. First Nations are concerned by the lack of a robust and binding, nation-to-nation consultation framework — one that respects the obligation under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to obtain the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of First Nations.
“TransCanada’s 38,000-page document has still not been fully translated into French and made available on the NEB website, though Quebec would be most heavily impacted by the new construction,” said Karine Peloffy of the Quebec Environmental Law Centre, which is in the middle of a court challenge against the NEB for its unequal treatment of francophones on this file.
Furthermore, the federal government has failed to develop a national carbon budget, so any climate test cannot be meaningfully applied by the NEB or the government.
“The new review process must consider upstream and downstream climate pollution and ensure projects comply with Canada’s role in limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius,” said Daniel Cayley-Daoust of the Council of Canadians.
Estimates show the increase in upstream production emissions because of the pipeline, in Alberta alone, would be as high as 32 million metric tons of CO2 per year, or 7 million new vehicles, while total lifecycle emissions (including downstream) would make it impossible to meet federal climate commitments and respect the Paris Accord.
Meanwhile, contrary to what TransCanada says, Energy East is not a job creator, given only 33 long-term direct jobs would be created in Quebec and 105 in New Brunswick. The pipeline, which would increase the number of tankers in Quebec and more than double the number of oil tankers in the Bay of Fundy, would also carry heavy tar sands oil, including diluted bitumen, through the most productive and biodiverse waters on the East Coast. Therefore it would also threaten thousands more jobs than it would create, especially as 5,000 fishers and their families in New Brunswick alone rely on the Bay of Fundy for employment.
Groups that say Energy East will not be built include Greenpeace Canada, The Council of Canadians, Transition Initiative Kenora, Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition, Maliseets of New Brunswick, 350.org, Ecology Ottawa, Northwatch, Red Head Anthony's Cove Preservation Association, PEACE-NB, Team Ecohealth, and Stop Energy East (North Bay).
For more information, please contact:
Patrick Bonin, Climate and Energy campaigner, Greenpeace Canada, (514) 594-1221
Teika Newton, Transition Initiative Kenora, (807) 466-2403
Daniel Cayley-Daoust, Energy and Climate Campaigner, The Council of Canadians, (819) 593-4579
Karine Peloffy, Quebec Environmental Law Centre, (514) 746-6597