The Council of Canadians is holding four community town hall meetings next week focused on opposing the Trans Canada Energy East pipeline.
The town hall meetings will be held:
These communities were chosen because the pipeline would cross the Salmon River near Chipman; several watercourses that flow into Belleisle Bay; the properties of organic farmers near Hampton; and mean that a massive oil storage tank farm and export marine terminal would be constructed in Saint John.
The featured speakers will be Peace and Friendship Alliance member Alma Brooks, Nebraska rancher and Keystone XL pipeline opponent Ben Gotschall, and Fredericton-based Council of Canadians campaigner Mark D'Arcy.
The proposed Energy East pipeline would transport 1.1 million barrels of bitumen a day from the tar sands in northern Alberta to Saint John, New Brunswick. It would involve the construction of 1,400 kilometres of new pipeline in New Brunswick and cross 280 waterways in the province. The drinking water in Edmundston, Saint Leonard, Saint Anne de Madawaska, Grand Falls, Cambridge Narrows, Hampton, Fredericton and Saint John would all be put at risk by an Energy East pipeline spill. If Energy East were approved, it would more than double (from 115 to 281) the number of oil supertankers in the Bay of Fundy each year.
In February 2016, the Wolastoq Grand Council issued a statement declaring, "As members of the Wolastoq Grand Council we unanimously oppose the Energy East Pipeline Project in order to protect our non-ceded homeland and waterways, our traditional and cultural connection to our lands, waterways, and air. The Wolastoq Grand Council has serious concerns for the safety and protection of the animals, fish, birds, insects, plants and tree life that sustains our Wolastoq Nation." The Grand Council has Indigenous title over the lands and waters of the entire St. John River watershed between the St. Lawrence River and the Bay of Fundy.
The Council of Canadians has also met with about 60 landowners in the watershed regions of Washademoak Lake, Belleisle Bay, Kennebecasis Bay and River, Bay of Fundy, Upper Saint John River, and Grand Lake to provide information on the implications of the pipeline crossing their properties.
In terms of a timeline for the decision on Energy East, we expect that in:
June 2016 - we will learn who has been accepted as interveners in the National Energy Board review process
August to December 2016 - panel hearings will take place along the pipeline route
March 2018 - the NEB will make its recommendation to the federal Cabinet
June 2018 - the Trudeau government will make its decision on the Energy East pipeline.
The provincial government in New Brunswick has stated that it does not believe the pipeline needs to go through a full provincial environmental impact assessment despite a recent British Columbia court ruling that the BC government was wrong to give up its jurisdiction and rely on the federal environmental review process for the Northern Gateway pipeline.
For more on our campaign to stop Energy East, please click here.