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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

TransCanada’s pipeline benefit vows fail to sway Quebec’s Arcand

Frederic Tomesco and Rebecca Penty | Bloomberg - April 17th 2015

Press Clipping: Quebec wants more evidence from TransCanada Corp. that its Energy East pipeline will benefit the province after a marine terminal was scrapped from the plan, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Pierre Arcand said. While the company argues the proposed C$12 billion ($9.8 billion) line crossing the French-speaking Canadian province to reach the Atlantic would create jobs and boost the local economy, Arcand isn’t convinced.

The Economics of Energy East: What’s in it for Ontario?

Richard Carlson & Rob Dorling | Mowatt Centre - April 17th 2015

Publication: Energy East would clearly benefit other regions of the country. As an oil producer, Alberta would be able to sell product at higher prices; and refiners and shippers in provinces such as New Brunswick could benefit from improved access to Western Canadian oil. When it comes to Ontario, TransCanada, the developer, has highlighted large economic benefits for the province, but our analysis indicates that potential economic costs could outweigh these benefits.

Canadians prefer protecting the climate over building Energy East pipeline

Joshua Axelrod | NRDC - April 9th 2015

Press Clipping: A week after TransCanada announced that it would abandon a key element of its proposed Energy East tar sands pipeline and delay the project by at least two years, a new poll released this week reveals that the project lacks serious support from Canadians. Billed as a "nation building" project supporting energy independence, Energy East is really just another attempt by the tar sands industry to lock in expanded production of its carbon-intensive product for sale to the highest bidder--even if that means exporting the oil.

61% of Canadians say protecting the climate more important than pipelines and tarsands


April 8th 2015

Blog Post: According to a recent poll, Canadians believe climate disruption is a moral issue and that climate protection trumps development of the tarsands and pipelines. As a result, they want politicians to control carbon pollution and give citizens a say in energy decision-making. A majority of Canadians (61%) believe that protecting the climate is more important than building the Energy East pipeline and further developing the tarsands. By a three-to-one margin, most Canadians believe building the Energy East pipeline to export tar sands oil is unethical because it is harmful to the environment.

No debate on Manitoba’s secret love affair (with oil)

Mary Agnes Welch | Winnipeg Free Press - April 8th 2015

Press Clipping: It could be easy to be environmentally smug in Manitoba. There are kilometres of intact boreal forest and pristine waters, unsullied by smog or oilsands or coal-fired power plants. All the clean hydro power and UNESCO World Heritage sites and the moratorium on hog barns are certainly something to crow about. Algae in Lake Winnipeg? Please read these 78 press releases about how the government is working on it. In the meantime, let's talk about the new cosmetic-pesticide ban and how Manitoba has almost met the Kyoto targets. What isn't talked about is something few inside the Perimeter Highway even know exists -- the booming oilpatch and the fact fracking produces nearly every barrel.

Cacouna port dead: What does this mean for opposition to Energy East?

Andrea Harden-Donahue | Council of Canadians - April 2nd 2015

Blog Post: As anticipated, TransCanada has pulled the plug on the controversial Cacouna port that really should never have seen the light of day. Massive export port beside (endangered) beluga whale habitat, with massive tankers plying the St Lawrence? Nope. The reality is opposition in Quebec to the Cacouna port and the Energy East pipeline proposal is diverse and growing.

TransCanada won’t build Quebec oil terminal over beluga concerns


Bertrand Marotte | Globe and Mail - April 2nd 2015

Press Clipping: Environmentalists quickly responded to TransCanada’s decision to abandon plans to build an export terminal for its Energy East pipeline project at Cacouna, Que., a critical St. Lawrence River gathering place for beluga whales. “By abandoning its tanker terminal plans for Cacouna, Quebec, TransCanada has finally admitted Energy East carries major risks for Canada,” Environmental Defence’s Adam Scott said. “If TransCanada is serious about listening, it should move immediately to cancel the Energy East project,” he said, adding that the project is “an export pipeline that has nothing to do with meeting Canadian demand for oil.”