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Energy East Pipeline: Concerned Citizens in US and Canada Pledge to Block TransCanada’s Latest Tar Sands Scheme
This morning, Canadian oil giant TransCanada filed an official application with the Canadian National Energy Board for permits to build its proposed Energy East tar sands pipeline. Concerned North Americans have already committed to challenging the project on both sides of the U.S. – Canada border. If approved, it would be the longest oil pipeline on the continent, and single largest tar sands pipeline. It would carry roughly 1.1 million barrels of tar sands oil per day from Alberta to Quebec and New Brunswick for export.
The issue is binational, as the pipeline would pass just ten miles from the U.S. border. TransCanada’s plans include the construction of major marine terminals on both the Bay of Fundy—an area renowned for its challenging tides and navigational risks—and on the St. Lawrence River, both bodies of water on the border, to allow large oil tankers to transport tar sands to refineries in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic and Gulf Coast. This uptick in tanker traffic would put a vast swath of U.S. coastline at risk of a tar sands marine tanker spill.
Both the Quebec and Ontario governments oppose the pipeline, and more than 40,000 Canadians have already signed petitions opposing the pipeline plan. This widespread opposition to this project is unsurprising, given TransCanada’s track record of bullying landowners, misleading lawmakers, downplaying serious risks, and failing to comply with safety practices.
“TransCanada has been a bad neighbor and a bully, and has misled landowners and local authorities,” said Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska. “Our message to our Canadian friends to the north: Do not trust this company with your land and water.”
American environmental organizations have committed to standing with their Canadian
counterparts in blocking this project, which would be a disaster for the climate, generating greenhouse gases in an amount comparable to adding more than 7 million cars a year to the road.
“Since 2008, we’ve been told that Keystone XL is a done deal and would be built no matter what, but we’ve successfully blocked that tar sands pipeline for six years. Now we’re hearing the same story about Energy East, but we know that we have the power to block this pipeline too,” said Luísa Abbott Galvão, of Friends of the Earth U.S.
“This is far from a ‘done deal,’” said Danielle Droitsch, Canada Project Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “TransCanada will face major hurdles in Canada and they will also face an American public that is growing more and more skeptical about tar sands oil. It is time for the U.S. and Canada to move past oil pipelines and get down to the business of a clean energy economy.”
“Climate- disrupting tar sands oil is a disaster for wildlife and habitat,” said Jim Murphy, Senior Counsel for National Wildlife Federation. “We’re beating TransCanada in the heartland and we will beat them in Canada too. It’s time to keep tar sands in the ground and turn our efforts towards building clean, responsible energy.”
“By saying no to tar sands pipelines such as Energy East, we say yes to standing with indigenous communities who are being poisoned by toxic tar sands, yes to protecting the wild caribou herds of Alberta, yes to smarter investments in clean vehicles, and yes to the health and future of our children,” said Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune.
“Public opposition to the tar sands across the continent has already caused the cancellation of major projects, $17 billion in lost revenue for the industry, and 2.8 billion tonnes of avoided carbon emissions. Opposition to the tar sands is clearly growing, and we are confident that the Energy East pipeline will see yet another example of the power of the people overcoming the power of this dirty industry,” said Stephen Kretzmann, Executive Director of Oil Change International.
“We will continue to fight TransCanada every step of the way. As the impacts of climate change become all too apparent, it is critical that we transition to a clean energy economy rather than doubling down on the dirtiest oil on the planet,” said Tiernan Sittenfeld, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs at the League of Conservation Voters.
“Every time TransCanada files an application, our movement grows stronger,” said Cameron Fenton of international climate campaign 350.org. “In the US, Keystone XL united hundreds of thousands of activists behind a common goal and broadened the circle of voters who care about climate change. We’re itching to have that fight here in Canada, because we know it’ll end exactly the same way: with no pipeline and a strengthened climate movement working to save our planet.”
“Similar to the situation in British Colombia and the lower 48 United States, many of the 185 First Nations and Metis communities that are affected by the proposed Energy East pipeline will form an unbreakable wall,” said Clayton Thomas-Muller of 350.org. “From Cree, Dene, and Metis lands in Alberta, all the way to Mic Maq lands in Atlantic Canada they will suffocate TransCanada’s ambitions. Because First Nations are armed with powerful legal instruments such as aboriginal and treaty rights that promise to mire this project in legal proceedings for years, investors and shareholders would be smart to consider the financial risk and uncertainty of Energy East.”
As the world begins to wake up to the need to take action on climate change, the defining issue of our time, the United States and Canada will increasingly need to work together to block dangerous projects like Energy East, which would become another major driver of climate change.
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