Citizens of Edmundston celebrated their Council's leadership last night, sending a clear message to other municipalities in New Brunswick and the Province of New Brunswick.
"Basically the City of Edmundston rejects any pipeline that passes through the city watershed," says resident Eric Levesque who attended the meeting last night with other concerned citizens. "It was voted yes unanimously by all 8 councillors!"
"When the resolution was read last night, the hall was full and it was immediate, the entire room went into a very loud, and long applause," says resident Claudia Julien who was also present for the vote. "By our actions we convinced the city to take notice, and convinced them to speak out and do their duty to protect our water, and the citizens.
In a news release on the City of Edmundston website, the Edmundston City Council said it strongly opposed any pipeline route through their watershed, including the portion in Quebec.
This win is a huge victory for citizen opposition to this proposed tar sands pipeline in New Brunswick. It comes after months of citizen engagement and vigilance for leadership from their municipal government. And it comes after the failure of both TransCanada and the Province of New Brunswick to address the concerns from Edmundston about their sole drinking water supply.
TransCanada refused to remove the proposed route from crossing their provincially-protected watershed. And the New Brunswick Department of Environment refused to answer any questions from the City of Edmundston about the risks and impacts of the Energy East pipeline to their drinking water.
Brian Gallant's government has rejected any Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) being conducted by New Brunswick on this project, even though there are several triggers that make it compulsory to conduct an EIA for the New Brunswick section of the Energy East Project.
By law, under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulation under the Clean Environment Act, all pipelines longer than five kilometers in length are to be registered for an EIA. There are also other trigger items in Schedule A of this regulation (pp.12-13), including that proposed projects affecting "all water reservoirs with a storage capacity of more than ten million cubic metres" are to be registered for an EIA.
TransCanada has not registered its proposed Energy East pipeline with the Province of New Brunswick.
Meanwhile, the posters keep spreading across the City of Fredericton. All New Brunswick municipalities are in the middle of elections and the leadership shown by the City of Edmundston on Energy East will raise the profile of this story in Fredericton and across the province.
The Mayor and City Council have refused to address the Energy East pipeline project in their public Council meeting. But the media attention, and pressure from the Fredericton chapter of the Council of Canadians and other citizens, is only mounting for their municipal government to "Publicly Take Back The Letter".
Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside and City Council sent a Letter of Support for the proposed TransCanada Energy East Pipeline Project to the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, and kept it secret from the citizens of Fredericton. And now the pubic and reporters have learned that this action was illegal.
Today's CBC New Brunswick's article on Edmundston's Energy East resolution also features the ongoing controversy in Fredericton with Energy East.
Stay tuned. Citizens will attend the next Council meeting on May 2, 2016 and watch quietly to see if Council corrects their violation of the Provincial law. This Council-in-Committee meeting starts at 7:00 p.m., in the 2nd Floor Committee Room of Fredericton City Hall.
The municipal election for Fredericton takes place on Monday, May 9, 2016.