1. Good news! Second-largest oil port on the American East Coast says no to tar sand
The city council of South Portland, home to the second-largest oil port on the East Coast, recently voted by a wide margin in favour of a land-use ordinance blocking the loading of crude oil onto ocean tankers. This includes tar sands crude that local residents are concerned could enter their community from Exxon Mobil's Portland-Montreal pipeline.
This victory, in the wake of significant local mobilization, is another example of how communities can stand up to Big Oil and say no to projects that threaten their water, air and land. In the coming years, we will see more of this along the Energy East route. Already, 14 Quebec municipalities have passed resolutions against Energy East, or for a provincial environmental assessment. Thunder Bay Mayor, Keith Hobbs, has expressed his clear concerns, and Al MacDonald, Mayor of North Bay, has said an oil spill in Trout Lake (their drinking water source very near a pipeline crossing) is "non-negotiable." Ecology Ottawa has noted a number of other positive examples of communities standing up to pipeline projects in this useful tool: why the City of Ottawa can and should take action on the proposed Energy East pipeline.
The Council of Canadians has released a new briefing on TransCanada's Energy East pipeline safety. The short but fact-filled report looks at Canadian pipeline safety regulation, TransCanada's record, the spills on the pipeline system they want to convert for Energy East, and more. Here are some snippets (for references, please see the report):
...Energy East would transport 2,024 litres of oil per second. This means more than one million litres could spill in 10 minutes. A huge amount of oil remaining in the pipeline between valves could also leak.
...only one of the eight ruptures [on TransCanada's mainline pipeline system between 1993-2013] was discovered by a leak detection system. The other ruptures were discovered by staff, nearby residents and an OPP officer. It took anywhere between 10 minutes to 2.5 hours from the time of the rupture to when the gas supply was shut off. In Beardmore, Ontario, gas continued to pass into the isolated segment of pipeline for a total of six hours.
3. Energy East and waterways
Concerned about the threat of Energy East to waterways along the pipeline path? The Council of Canadians will soon be releasing Energy East: Where Oil Meets Water. It provides preliminary analysis of the risks posed by a diluted bitumen spill to many waterways along the pipeline route.
Take Action: Join the movement to stop Energy East
Do you live in Northern Ontario? TransCanada is holding a new round of open houses in eight northern Ontario communities. You can find all the details here (starting in Kenora on August 12). Bring your questions, use some of our handouts available at www.noenergyeast.ca , find out whether local groups are planning on participating and get involved!
The timing and locations chosen (only in Northern Ontario) begs the question, is TransCanada trying to clean up its image after the Mattawa controversy?
For those who may have missed it, TransCanada donated $30,000 to Mattawa Council (a community in Northern Ontario) towards a fire truck. In exchange, they asked Mattawa to stay silent about TransCanada's operations. This generated national and even international news. Mattawa Council and TransCanada have since distanced themselves from this clause but the question remains, how many other communities has TransCanada tried to buy off?
If you live along the route, call your city councillor, ask for a list of lobbying between the Council and TransCanada, and whether your community has signed a similar agreement and gag order.
Ontario Energy Board: Get ready for the second round...
The Council of Canadians and many other environmental and local groups participated in large numbers in the first round of Ontario Energy Board Energy East consultations, sending a clear message that Ontarians are concerned about the risks to our air, water and land. You can find reports from these meetings here.
The OEB will be holding another round of consultations, likely early fall. Stay tuned -- we'll make sure to share the information as soon as its available, and check out the OEB's Energy East webpage to find out more.
The NEB's Energy East Review needs a People's Intervention
The Council of Canadians has joined 350.org, LeadNow and others in encouraging a People's Intervention of the National Energy Board's (NEB) review of Energy East. Take a moment and use our action alert to send a message to the new NEB Chair that climate change and people's voices needs to be part of the discussion.
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