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

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.

Canadians must stay strong against TransCanada Energy East pipeline

Ben Gotschall | Energy Director with Bold Nebraska - June 24th 2015

Blog Post: Ben Gotschall, a veteran rancher and now Energy Director with Bold Nebraska, had first hand experience fighting against Keystone XL in his home state. After embarking on the Energy East tour of the prairies with the National Farmers Union and the Council of Canadians, Gotschall reflects on the similarities between the two movements and the people's fight to protect their land, their drinking water, and their homes from being destroyed by a dangerous pipeline.

Today was the #EndOfTheLine in Red Head


Andrea Giles | Council of Canadians - June 1st 2015

Blog Post: What an incredible day! Well over 500 people participated in the march and rally to the End of the Line here in Red Head (just outside of Saint John) New Brunswick. Red Head residents are concerned about the proposed Energy East pipeline and the tank farm that would be erected in their community. But participants came from all across New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, Quebec, and Maine to express their solidarity with this community and their opposition to this pipeline and the expansion of the tar sands that would come with it.

Winnipeg chapter supports report indicating that Energy East threatens Winnipeg’s drinking water


Brent Patterson | Council of Canadians - May 26th 2015

Blog Post: A report authored by Dennis LeNeveu, a retired biophysicist who worked for the federal Crown corporation Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, says that the Energy East pipeline threatens the drinking water of more than 60 per cent of Manitoba residents. “Winnipeg has much to lose from the pipeline crossing within its boundaries and little to gain.” The report was released by a Manitoba-based coalition in which the Council of Canadians Winnipeg chapter is a key member.

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.