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Town hall provides new evidence on risks of Energy East to North Bay



NORTH BAY – Maude Barlow, renowned author and water protection activist, will headline a town hall presenting new evidence on the risks of TransCanada’s proposed 1.1 million barrel per day Energy East pipeline through the North Bay area.

“Evidence continues to show that Energy East is all risk and little reward,” says Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “New reports affirm the unacceptable risks of diluted bitumen spills to waterways, that this is an export pipeline, not for Canadian use, and how it will undermine Canada’s ability to address climate change.”

A newly released report, When Oil Meets Water: How the Energy East pipeline threatens North Bay watersheds, will be presented at the event, which will also feature Mark Calzavara of the Council of Canadians and Steve Courtney of Theia GeoAnalytics.

“Based on TransCanada’s own track record, Energy East has a 15 per cent of rupturing somewhere along its length every year,” says Calzavara, Ontario Regional Organizer with the Council of Canadians. “The pipeline crosses several creeks that flow into Trout Lake. A major spill in the Trout Lake watershed would devastate this community, and could cost more than $1 billion and require years of cleanup.”

TransCanada’s leak detection system can’t pick up leaks smaller than 1.5 per cent of pipeline’s capacity. This means up to 2.62 million litres of oil could spill daily without TransCanada even knowing. In just 48 hours this could cause the worst oil spill in Canadian history.

Energy East would ship diluted bitumen produced in the tar sands. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) recently released the most comprehensive study of diluted bitumen to date, affirming it substantially differs from other types of oil when spilled near or in water. Diluted bitumen creates a unique and complex spill scenario as bitumen sinks in water after a short period of weathering. The study concluded that special response strategies and tactics are needed to respond and clean up diluted bitumen spills; however, these have not yet been developed in Canada or the U.S.

“By employing sophisticated spatial analysis and detailed provincial and federal data, Theia GeoAnalytics mapped the route as it transected the heart of the Canadian Shield,” says Steven Courtney of Theia GeoAnalytics. “Every stream, river, bog and lake that the pipeline crosses was identified, mapped and analyzed. Our results show a great discrepancy between the numbers published by TransCanada and not in a good way. Let’s have science, not spin.”

Filling the Energy East pipeline could also generate up to 32 million tonnes of carbon pollution, the equivalent of adding 7 million cars to the road. Energy East alone threatens to exceed Canada’s 2 degree Celsius carbon budget in about 19 years, to say nothing of the 1.5 degree Celsius target Canada supported in Paris.

The free public town hall is co-hosted by the Council of Canadians and the Stop Energy East North Bay. The event is co-sponsored by Friends of Temagami, Nipissing Environmental Watch, Northwatch and Transition Town North Bay.

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