The event, part of a series of forums and meetings along the Energy East pipeline route coordinated by the Council of Canadians alongside local partners, features Council of Canadians National Chairperson Maude Barlow and Eriel Deranger of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN), and takes place 7:00 p.m. Sunday at the Mayfair Theatre (1074 Bank Street). Sunday’s forum will also feature Graham Saul from Ecology Ottawa and Andrea Harden-Donahue from the Council of Canadians.
Transporting 1.1 million barrels of oil per day, Energy East would be the largest oil pipeline in North America. The tour, happening during the Ontario Energy Board Consultations, brings to light a number of serious risks with this project.
“Almost all of the oil is expected to be exported, with benefits flowing to the oil industry,” says Barlow. “In Ontario, TransCanada will attempt to use a converted 40-year-old natural gas pipeline to carry tar sands oil, including diluted bitumen, over some of the province’s most important waterways such as Nipigon River which flows into Lake Superior.”
The pipeline crosses the city’s drinking water source, the Rideau River, south of Ottawa, traverses above the highly vulnerable Oxford aquifer, through a groundwater recharge area, and also includes plans for a new pumping station in Stittsville.
“The Energy East pipeline would not even be a necessary evil – it would be bad for our climate and bad for our city,” says Graham Saul, Executive Director of Ecology Ottawa. “We want our elected leaders to listen to the thousands of people that have come forward already to say 'no' to this pipeline.”
Filling Energy East would help spur a 40 per cent increase in tar sands production. Downstream First Nations are calling for an end to further expansion.
“ACFN members are witnessing the rapid and wide-scale industrialization of their traditional lands for rapid tar sands production – lands that have sustained our communities, culture and distinctive ways of life for countless generations,” says Deranger. “Current production is large enough that 80 per cent of the traditional territories of the ACFN and Mikisew Cree First Nation are rendered inaccessible for periods of the year due to tar sands development. Not only do the tar sands put my community’s culture and traditional way of life at risk for future generations, diluted bitumen shipped near Ottawa puts your land and water at risk.”
Producing the crude needed to fill Energy East would generate the climate pollution equivalent to that of all the cars in Ontario, every year.