Skip to content

New Brunswick government out of step with residents


FREDERICTON – The New Brunswick government’s quick response that it will lobby Montreal in favour of Energy East, the 4,400-km pipeline that the second largest city in Canada announced it opposes yesterday, is out of step with New Brunswickers’ reservations about the controversial project.

“Premier Gallant and our government have practically become cheerleaders for Energy East,” said Mark D’Arcy, New Brunswick Energy East campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “But how do they know their constituents supports it? Unlike in Quebec and Ontario, there have been no provincial consultations or assessments in New Brunswick.”

recent poll conducted by Climate Action Network Canada found 60.7% of people in the Maritimes oppose Energy East while 27.7% support it. Nationally, 47% oppose and 40% support the pipeline.

Yesterday’s announcement from Montreal’s mayor, along with six other regional mayors, came after extensive consultation by the Commission de l'environnement de la Communauté métropolitaine. Their announcement brings the total to 340 municipalities in Quebec that have now officially opposed the risks presented by Energy East. The pipeline carrying 1.1 million barrels of oil daily would terminate in Saint John where the vast majority of the oil would then be exported to more lucrative international markets.  

“I live in Kars, in the Belleisle Bay watershed,” said Marilyn Merritt-Gray. “Energy East would cut across 18 kilometres of our watershed, where a large-scale spill threatens to contaminate Belleisle Bay. The Bay is important to the many communities in this area, for farming, for tourism, and for the quality-of-life for those who live here in the summer or year-round."

Energy East would transport oil including diluted bitumen originating in the tar sands and cross New Brunswick waterways 281 times, including major tributaries to the St. John River such as the Madawaska, Tobique, Canaan and Kennebecasis Rivers. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences recently released the most comprehensive analysis to date of diluted bitumen spills. The study confirms diluted bitumen sinks in water, making it extremely difficult to clean up. It further finds spill responders are poorly equipped to deal with the unique challenges of these spills.

“Energy East crosses traditional Wolastoq territory. We have not approved this project that presents a very serious threat from spills to our land and water. The Wolastoq Grand Council has been working hard to discuss this project with our communities and build awareness,” said Alma Brooks, an elder grandmother with the Grand Wolastoq Grand Council.   

There is a growing wall of opposition to Energy East. Increasingly, both citizens and politicians are concluding that there is more risk than benefit from a project that would increase climate pollution from the tar sands, threaten over 1000 waterways and the Bay of Fundy with a diluted bitumen spill, present health risks to the Saint John community of Red Head, and offer few long-term benefits.

– 30-

For more information, please contact:

Mark D'Arcy, NB Energy East Campaigner, The Council of Canadians, Fredericton, New Brunswick
(506) 292-7190 or mdarcy@canadians.org

IMAGE: TransCanada