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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

Poll shows few Quebecers support Energy East pipeline


Monique Beaudin | Montreal Gazette - November 20th 2014

Press Clipping: Only a third of Quebecers support the controversial Energy East oil pipeline project, according to a poll conducted by researchers at the Université de Montréal. But it is a different situation outside the province. Nationally, half of Canadians support the project, with 68 per cent of Albertans favouring the pipeline, the poll found. The U de M poll results come the day after TransCanada’s communications plan to win over Quebecers and silence critics were leaked. The company’s strategic plan devoted to Quebec, dated May 20, calls for recruiting “third parties” to “build an echo chamber of aligned voices” in favour of the project.

P.R. firm urges TransCanada to target opponents of its Energy East pipeline

Ian Austen | New York Times - November 18th 2014

Press Clipping: Ben Powless, the antipipeline campaigner at Ecology Ottawa, said he was somewhat surprised that Edelman, the largest independent public relations firm based on revenues, would be concerned about his small group’s influence. Ecology Ottawa has about nine paid employees and mainly relies on volunteers who tend to be students and retirees. “To me, it’s a smear campaign really trying to shut down the voices of local people who have legitimate concerns.”

Pipeline alert from federal regulator is first of its kind

Elizabeth Douglass | InsideClimate News - November 18th 2014

Press Clipping: Reversing oil and natural gas pipelines or switching the product they're carrying can have a "significant impact" on the line's safety and integrity—and "may not be advisable" in some cases, federal regulators told pipeline companies in a recent advisory. The alert is the first time the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has officially cautioned the industry about potential safety threats from restarting, reversing or reworking pipelines to handle Canadian tar sands oil and the surge in U.S. oil and natural gas supplies. If not handled properly, those changes can increase the risk of pipeline leaks and ruptures, the Sept. 12 notice said.

Exposing Energy East: People and places at risk by TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline proposal

November 16th 2014

Blog Post: TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline plan threatens some of Canada’s most pristine wilderness and wildlife. Exposing Energy East is an online photography exhibit that turns the lens on the exquisite landscapes put at risk by the pipeline, and shines the light on the concerns of people, from farmers to fisherman, who live along the pipeline’s proposed route. Taken together, the images remind us that these are real places and real communities at risk across Canada.

TransCanada hits whale-sized snag on Energy East

Nicolas Van Praet | Globe and Mail - November 7th 2014

Press Clipping: While TransCanada Corp. insists Quebec will see a $5.8-billion boost to its gross domestic product and secure a significant chunk of employment worth 50,000-person years if its Energy East pipeline is approved, some local leaders aren’t so sure. “I have serious concerns about what this project will mean for our local economy,” said Hugues Tremblay, mayor of Tadoussac, a village at the mouth of the Saguenay River that’s become synonymous with whale watching.

Quebec town may hold referendum on TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline

Nicolas Van Praet | Globe and Mail - November 7th 2014

Press Clipping: The Quebec port town at the centre of the debate over TransCanada Corp.’s$12-billion Energy East pipeline says it will likely hold a citizens’ referendum before deciding whether to back or reject the project. "We sense that the population is divided,” said Cacouna Mayor Ghislaine Daris, who previously stated that she in favour of economic development but not at any price. “If we, [as a council], support the project, for sure we also want the people’s opinion. We did a referendum in 2005 and I think that it’s a legitimate thing to do.”

New student coalition promises to block pipelines at Quebec border


Editors | Tar Sands Solutions Network - November 7th 2014

Blog Post: A new coalition of Quebec student associations is launching today, with a mandate to block any and all pipelines at the provincial border. "Among our students there is a tremendous appetite for doing what is necessary to stop climate change," said ECO spokesperson, and Concordia Student Union VP External, Anthony Garoufalis-Auger. "This coalition seeks to unite the Quebec student movement, the most powerful such movement in North America, behind a simple message: these pipelines will not pass."