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Opposition to Energy East pipeline on the rise in Quebec

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There is mounting opposition to TransCanada's proposed Energy East pipeline across the country.

Two of the most recent (and ongoing) examples are in Quebec.

A number of environmental groups in the province declared 'victory' recently when TransCanada agreed to put a hold on exploratory drilling until it received a provincial permit. Drilling was rumoured to start in mere days.

It just so happens that the massive export terminal they want to build in Cacouna, Quebec is right in the middle of an at-risk beluga habitat. Yes, it's as terrible an idea as it sounds -- I sincerely hope we never have to witness belugas covered in diluted bitumen.  

In addition to the clear reasons why we need to protect the habitat of at-risk species, belugas are also a key part of local culture, key to tourism and the local economy.

TransCanada made this concession as a result of several Quebec environmental groups filing an injunction with the Quebec Superior Court. Certainly, the fight won't stop here. The Council of Canadians continues to oppose this port and will look at ways to further support opposition to it and continued protection for the beluga whale habitat.

Cacouna was also the starting point of the People's March for Mother Earth. It began on the Defend our Climate day of action, May 10, starting a journey spanning 700 kilometres from Cacouna to Kanehsatà:ke on June 14.

The march is following the path of TransCanada's Energy East and Enbridge's Line 9 tar sands pipelines. The objective of the march is "to inform and support citizen mobilizations against the arrival of tarsands pipelines and fossil fuel exploitation projects in Quebec. The marchers will stop every evening to meet with communities through the medium of participative theater and discussion of the issues which directly touch them."

The march has seen anywhere between 30 to hundreds of people joining the Cacouna walkers for the day's journey. Rallies in communities along the path have drawn large crowds. They are reporting people along the path are already very concerned and, many are opposed to the project.

You can follow the march's progress (they arrived in Trois Rivieres this week) on their website  and get daily updates on Facebook.

I suspect we will see more journeys crop up along the pipeline path in coming months.

This past February saw Thunder Bay Council of Canadians members join a 20-kilometre snowshoe and cross country ski trek along the route in Northern Ontario.

There is also the 'Vulnerable Watersheds' project for which biologist Dr. Frederick W. Schueler and Aleta Karstad are seeking support. The plan is to assess the characteristics of rivers and streams along the Energy East path, surveying the organisms of the waterways and painting places where the pipeline crosses.

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