Tar Sands Solutions Network

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Energy East

Energy East is a proposal by TransCanada Pipelines Limited to create a dangerous pipeline network stretching 4,500 km from southern Alberta to New Brunswick. TransCanada wants to use Energy East to transport 1.1 million barrels of toxic tar sands oil a day.

Energy East is not a “Made in Canada” oil solution. Energy East would be the largest oil pipeline project in North America, and would put hundreds of communities at risk of a tar sands oil spill like the one that devastated Mayflower, AK.

Little of the oil transported by Energy East would stay in Canada. Instead, between 750,000 and one million barrels of unrefined oil would be exported out of Canada every single day. That’s the equivalent of 50 Olympic-sized swimming pools of oil – every day.

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TransCanada pipeline proposal to transport tar sands crude to New Brunswick 
Key Problems:
- Converting this aging natural gas pipeline to tar sands crude would make it prone to leaks and spills
- This pipeline ruptured and exploded in 1995, causing a huge fire
- Would put millions of Canadians in six provinces at risk of a tar sands oil spill 
Current Status:
Thousands of citizens and numerous city councils oppose this risky proposal

TransCanada’s proposal involves three main pieces.

First, it requires converting 3,000 km of an aging natural gas pipeline to carry tar sands oil. The existing natural gas pipeline runs from Alberta to eastern Ontario. Evidence indicates that converting a main natural gas pipeline to ship oil could increase the cost of natural gas for customers in Ontario and Quebec.

Energy East also requires the construction of new sections of pipeline, the largest of which would run from eastern Ontario more than 1,5400 km across southern Quebec to Saint John, New Brunswick. Along with the segment to be converted, this would mean millions of people in six provinces would be at risk of a tar sands oil spill.

Then there’s the construction of two oil export terminals, one planned for the south shore of the St. Lawrence River and one in Saint John, NB. This will increase the number of oil tankers plying the waters of the St. Lawrence River and the Atlantic Ocean, putting at risk maritime economies and communities from inevitable tar sands spills.

Despite TransCanada’s assurances about safety, the company has had many oil spills and safety problems with its pipelines. In 1995, the same natural gas pipeline that TransCanada intends to convert to tar sands oil ruptured, causing a huge explosion and fire in southern Manitoba. In 2011, the first phase of TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline spilled 12 times in its first year of operation, one of the worst first-year spill rates on record for a pipeline. One incident created a crude oil geyser six stories high. TransCanada had boasted about its “world class safety standards” and predicted a spill rate of only 1.4 times per decade.

Energy East Updates & Resources

Energy East pipeline threatens endangered whales and sea life


August 20th 2015

Blog Post: The Conservation Council of New Brunswick recently released a report warning that the proposed Energy East pipeline will have serious consequences for whales and other sea life in the Bay of Fundy and the Gulf of Maine. Increased tanker traffic would stress the most endangered whale species in the world, and any leaks or spills would endanger the Bay of Fundy’s important fishing industry.

Pipelines: In Election 2015, which party has the best policy?


Editorial Board | Globe and Mail - August 19th 2015

Press Clipping: As Conservative Leader Stephen Harper pointed out during the first leaders debate, the oil industry is only a small part of the Canadian economy. (Yes, he really said that. Yes, he’s right.) And the pipelines that move oil are, economically speaking, only a small part of that small part. Yet pipelines have become the flashpoint. A whole series of debates over global warming, carbon emissions, oil spills and even jobs have been reduced to battles over pipe. So where does each of the parties stand on pipelines?

Gilles Duceppe: Quebec can’t be ‘highway for Albertan oil’

August 19th 2015

Press Clipping: After weeks of criticizing TransCanada's Energy East plan to build a pipeline through Quebec to New Brunswick, Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe blasted the proposal to build a rail terminal in Belledune, N.B. "We cannot let Quebec be transformed into a highway for Albertan oil,'’ said Duceppe. The Bloc leader called on his opponents in the NDP, Liberals and Conservatives to reject the Belledune rail terminal proposal.

Ontario Energy Board report raises serious concerns about Energy East


Adam Scott | Environmental Defense - August 14th 2015

Blog Post: Today’s report by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to the Ontario government raises serious concerns about Energy East. The report highlights that the tar sands pipeline’s economic benefits are not balanced with the environmental risks to Ontario. Public input made it clear that the risky project does not have the support of communities along the pipeline route in Ontario.

Protesters interrupt Mulcair book launch to complain about Energy East pipeline


Allison Jones | Canadian Press - August 11th 2015

Press Clipping: Protesters interrupted NDP Leader Tom Mulcair's book launch Monday to press him for a position on the Energy East pipeline, one day after he was dogged by questions about oilsands on the campaign trail. If it is found to be incompatible with national action on climate change, will you say no to the pipeline?" one protester yelled as he was gently escorted out of the room by Mulcair's security detail. "Of course we will," Mulcair replied.

Statement from Environmental Defence’s Adam Scott on comments from Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne

Adam Scott | Environmental Defence - July 14th 2015

Publication: Environmental Defence has issued a response to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne's recent comments in support of the Energy East tar sands pipeline. Not only would the pipeline undermine Ontario's efforts to become a climate action leader in Canada, but it would bring negligible economic benefits to the province to compensate for the very real risk of a spill.

Premiers set to fast-track oil pipelines while cutting regulatory red tape


Adrian Morrow | Globe and Mail - July 13th 2015

Press Clipping: Canada’s premiers are poised to sign an agreement to fast-track new oil sands pipelines while watering down commitments to fight climate change. Two sections of the plan commit the provinces and territories to help get more pipelines built, in part by cutting down on red tape to speed up regulatory decisions. But the strategy contains little firm commitment on battling global warming. Its strongest environmental section – a pledge for all provinces and territories to adopt absolute targets for cutting greenhouse gases – is marked as a point of contention that might be scrapped.

Quebec premier sees little value in proposed oil pipeline

Cara Anna | Associated Press - June 26th 2015

Blog Post: Quebec's Premier Philippe Couillard publicly stated that he does not see any benefit in building the Energy East pipeline. Citing climate impacts and the imminent danger of a spill, Couillard shared his desire to build a fossil-free province that leads the nation in climate action. Couillard also promised Quebec would take a prominent role at the Paris climate summit in December.