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Ontario Energy Board releases experts’ reports confirming Energy East’s dangers, say environmental groups

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) released four preliminary assessments from its technical advisors on TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline project yesterday, confirming that the pipeline is all risk and no reward for Ontarians.

Key findings in the reports include:

  • TransCanada has overstated the project’s economic benefits. 
  • A full environmental impact assessment of drinking water and other sensitive areas is not possible because TransCanada’s application is incomplete.
  • Up to 100 km of the pipeline in Ontario is especially vulnerable to stress corrosion cracking.
  • A 2.6 million litre spill, which would be the largest in Canadian history, is possible – even with a perfect emergency response.

“The OEB report confirms what many Ontarians fear about Energy East as well as questioning TransCanada’s claimed economic benefits,” said Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy and Climate Justice Campaigner with the Council of Canadians.

The economic impacts report finds the TransCanada’s estimated benefits are likely inflated while local benefits are expected to be small, particularly along the converted portion of the pipeline in northern Ontario.

“TransCanada has been selling Energy East to Ontarians as a boon for local revenue and jobs, while downplaying the risks,” said Teika Newton of Transition Initiative Kenora. “We knew there was more to the story. Now we have the facts to back this up.”

While the project confirms what many environmentalists have been saying about the risks, the climate change assessment was disappointing.

“Ontarians need to know that Energy East will wipe out all the climate gains made by shutting down coal plants in the province. This pipeline would allow the tar sands to grow by 40 percent, when the world's leading scientists have said we need to leave most of the tar sands in the ground to maintain a liveable climate,” said Ben Powless, Energy East Campaigner with Ecology Ottawa.

“The climate change assessment makes the false assumption that the oil slated for Energy East will be put on trains if the pipeline isn’t built. But we know that this is not economically viable and that there isn’t enough railway capacity to ship an additional 1.1 million barrels per day,” said Ruth Cook of the Thunder Bay chapter of the Council of Canadians.

The reports were produced for presentation at community open houses being hosted by the OEB along the proposed pipeline route. The second of seven OEB open houses happens tonight in Thunder Bay followed by Kapuskasing, Timmins, North Bay, Ottawa and Cornwall. Participation at the previous round of consultations exceeded expectations and reflected clear concerns about the risk to our shared  climate, land and waterways.

The reports can be found at :