The Atlantic Energy East tour has been great so far! With so much success with the first leg last in Nova Scotia and Saint John events including the TransCanada open house in that community, Maude, Matt Abbott (Fundy Baykeeper with the Conservation Council), Ben Gotschall (Nebraska rancher and anti-Keystone XL pipeline) and I are working hard on the road to keep up the momentum!
Monday we were all arrived in Fredericton by late afternoon and met with Chief Candace Paul and others from the St. Mary’s First Nation. They were particularly interested to hear Ben Gotschall’s perspective as a rancher and landowner in Nebraska, and his experience with the Cowboy and Indian Alliance. After our meeting they were headed to a Chief and Council meeting where the pipeline was on the agenda.
On Tuesday we travelled to Chipman and met with the mayor and several councillors. They were welcoming and interested to hear the other perspective since TransCanada had already been there two or three times. We visited the Salmon River, a main tributary to Grand Lake (New Brunswick’s largest lake), which goes through the village but will also be one of the waterways crossed by the pipeline. The crossing is less than 10 km from flowing into Grand Lake.
The Fredericton public event was amazing, with 300 people in attendance and some great questions and discussion at the end. (see #2riskEE on Twitter for some of the play-by-play!) I presented the Energy East 101 piece, Matt spoke to concerns around the Bay of Fundy with the additional tanker traffic and risks of a spill, and Ben shared some great stories and strategy they used to garner more public support in Nebraska. Maude wrapped things up by connecting water concerns as well as dispelling the myths of job creation, decrease of rail tanker traffic, and Atlantic energy security.
We had a wonderful visit with folks in the Stanley and Taymouth areas, including a site visit to a haul road which crosses Arnold Brook, a tributary to the Nashwaak River. People in this small community of 400 people don’t have much economic prosperity but those who met with us seemed to know that any local economic benefit would be minimal compared to the risks to their community (and others). Smart and kind people!
We have made it to Edmundston where we have a couple of meetings before the final public event of the tour. I’m not expecting a huge crowd but am hopeful we can connect a few folks who share our concerns and who want to continue the work of raising awareness and helping to build the Wall of Opposition! This pipeline will not pass! Keep the Atlantic tar sands free!
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