From Kenora to Cornwall, North Bay to Timmins, Ontario residents are saying No to TransCanada’s risky Energy East pipeline plan.
The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) held seven community meetings throughout January to hear from residents about the Energy East pipeline project. At each meeting, from Thunder Bay to Ottawa, hundreds of people trekked out in the icy winter weather to have their say – and the vast majority said Ontario should reject this risky mega-pipeline.
In Kenora, residents raised questions about threats to local water quality as well as the serious incompleteness of the TransCanada application. The same concerns were echoed in the rest of the sessions.
Attendees were sceptical regarding the claims of TransCanada, including the assertion that it would take just 22 minutes to stop a tar sands oil spill (especially given the horrible safety record of the company.) Attendees also pointed out that the potential for undetected slow leaks was a serious risk for the 40-year old pipeline.
One North Bay resident said, “All we have been doing is discussing risk; to the citizens of North Bay and in this area, there is no acceptable level of risk.”
The comments made at hearings in some smaller communities, such as Kapuskasing and Timmins, showed that opposition to the risky proposal has grown considerably since the OEB’s first round of consultations last spring.
At the public hearing in Kanata last week, nearly 400 people piled into a hotel conference room to make their voices heard. In addition to concerns about safety and risk to water, many spoke about their concerns to the potential climate impact of the pipeline. In the final community meeting in Cornwall on Tuesday, many questions were asked about the incompleteness of TransCanada’s application, the potential for ecological risk, and the effects on a town that has seen more than its share of industrial pollution.
The separate track of First Nations meetings also had some controversy, especially when Grand Chief Warren White of Treaty 3 near Kenora said that TransCanada had done a shoddy job consulting with First Nations and Treaty 3 was rejecting the NEB and TransCanada consultation process. Meanwhile, in Cornwall, it was pointed out that traditional indigenous knowledge had not been included in the TransCanada’s application and this was a vast oversight.
What arose from these seven community meetings is clear:
- There isn’t enough information for anyone to approve of this project, including the National Energy Board who will make the ultimate determination of whether to approve of the project
- There is significant concern about spill risk and pipeline integrity for a project that brings little benefit to Ontario
- If Ontario wants to show climate leadership, the province must stand up against Energy East. Building Energy East would lead to a massive increase in Canada’s carbon emissions. That’s because Energy East will carry tar sands oil – one of the highest carbon fuels on the planet.
While Ontario’s public hearings have now wrapped up, you can still get involved by signing and sharing our petition to the OEB. Thousands of people have urged Ontario to reject Energy East. Join the movement and make your voice heard!