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

Fishing at the end of Energy East


May 25th 2015

Visual: In part two of this three-part series documenting the stories of Energy East, photojournalist Robert van Waarden casts off with fisherman David Thompson and sails the Bay of Fundy to capture the sights and sounds of his way of life. Thompson worries the new Energy East pipeline will leak, and he questions the logic of major investments in oil infrastructure when we know the future of our society lies elsewhere.

In the oil sands, a painful shift to a new normal


Jeff Lewis | Globe and Mail - May 18th 2015

Press Clipping: For years, Alberta’s deposits of tarry bitumen attracted billions in investment from the world’s oil giants. Those days are gone. Today, the sector is reeling amid a price shock that has sapped billions from corporate budgets and forced a dramatic rethink about the companies’ role in global energy markets. By one estimate, as much as 1.2 million barrels per day of future production capacity has been put on hold, only a fraction of which will be resurrected. This slimmer production outlook will ease demand for multibillion-dollar pipelines, potentially delaying projects such as Northern Gateway and Energy East well into next decade.

Photos: Canadians living along the route of the Energy East pipeline

Robert van Waarden | The Guardian - May 12th 2015

Press Clipping: "The greater concern for myself is the environmental one. We are connected not only locally but globally, and the expansion of the tar sands by this project would worsen climate change. I’m very much opposed to that. I don’t see any benefit, not only to our local Canadian population, but as a citizen of the world; this expansion is what I would call a madness.” ~ Elizabeth Frazer, retired United Church minister, North Bay, Ontario

Opinion: How Ontario and Quebec can fight climate change together

Tim Gray | Environmental Defence - May 11th 2015

Press Clipping: Fighting climate change is about increasing our use of clean, renewable energy, and decreasing the amount of dirty energy from fossil fuels. Ontario and Quebec have clear opportunities to collaborate on both. Quebec has an abundance of clean hydro power and more of that would be a welcome addition to Ontario’s electricity mix. On the fossil fuel side, both provinces have the ability to say no to the longest, largest oilsands pipeline ever — TransCanada’s Energy East, a pipeline that would allow for the expansion of the oilsands, the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gases in Canada.

Saint John-area community group becomes first of its kind to join Energy East opposition

May 5th 2015

Press Clipping: A new group is joining the opposition to the Energy East pipeline project: homeowners in Red Head, Nova Scotia. The East Saint John neighbourhood is where the proposed pipeline is supposed to end, and there are plans for a new marine terminal and a huge tank farm in the area. “Myself, I have a son that had to go out west,” said Leanna Sutton, a member of the Red Head and Anthony’s Cove Preservation Association, at a recent meeting. "He’s a pipefitter. So it’s not that I don’t love pipefitters. I just don’t want them in my community, putting another pipeline in."

Energy East pipeline-related company had 19 ‘environmental emergencies’ since 2012

Richard Valdmanis and Dave Sherwood | Globe and Mail - April 22nd 2015

Press Clipping: A company pivotal to Canada’s most ambitious oil pipeline project has a mixed environmental record of spills and regulatory warnings, a finding likely to bolster activist opposition to the proposal. Family-owned Irving Oil, poised to build and operate the sole Atlantic export terminal for TransCanada’s Energy East oil sands pipeline from Alberta, has logged at least 19 accidents classified by regulators as “environmental emergencies” at its existing facilities in eastern Canada since 2012, including three that drew warnings for delayed reporting.

Building a wall of opposition to Energy East: Reflections on the Prairies tour

Andrea Harden-Donahue | Council of Canadians - April 22nd 2015

Blog Post: Last Friday marked the final day of our Prairies Energy East: Our Risk – Their Reward tour. This was the third tour along the 4400km pipeline path, the first visited Ontario and the second, Atlantic Canada. At 1.1 million barrels per day, Energy East is the largest pipeline proposed to date. Working with local partners, the public forums provide an important alternative narrative to the one-sided, trade show style ‘open houses’ held by TransCanada. By the numbers, here are some of our Prairies tour results.

Energy East – an export pipeline


April 21st 2015

Visual: TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline plan is all about exporting oil. It is not a made-in-Canada energy solution. Up to 90 per cent of Energy East’s oil would be exported unrefined. As an export pipeline, it won’t create many permanent jobs or have lasting economic benefits to local communities.