How do you stop a pipeline when one family owns both the oil and the media?

By: Lynaya Astephen, member of Red Head Anthony's Cove Preservation Association
Read the original here

Pipeline opponent’s op-ed rejected by Irving-owned newspaper in New Brunswick

Editors’ note: Saint John’s Telegraph-Journal refused to publish this op-ed, written by a local resident to explain why over 700 people gathered on the shores of the Bay of Fundy this past Saturday to oppose Energy East, TransCanada’s proposed 1.1 million barrel per day pipeline. Like nearly all print media in the province of New Brunswick, the Telegraph-Journal is owned by the Irving family, whose company, Irving Oil, has partnered with TransCanada to build a maritime export terminal for the proposed Energy East pipeline.

I am a proud resident of Red Head, Saint John, a small rural community with quiet roads and beautiful coastal views.

TransCanada is proposing a 1.1 million barrel per day pipeline from Alberta to Saint John. After travelling almost the entire length of the country, it would end at a new deep water port on the Bay of Fundy. The Energy East project also includes a massive tank “farm” to store the oil that would be loaded onto waiting ships — across the street from my home.

Why do I oppose Energy East?

I’m worried about the air we breathe.

Saint John is highly industrialized, and residents are already exposed to increased health risks from air pollution, not to mention the oil smells near Irving’s new rail facility. We have, among other industries, Irving Oil’s export terminal and the Canaport LNG terminal. We have 38 times the industrial pollution of Fredericton and 243 times that of Moncton. A recent study found lung cancer rates 30 per cent higher in Saint John than in either of these communities. The health experts I’ve spoken to say that existing regulations for air pollution as inadequate. Yet TransCanada says air pollution from Energy East would not be significant.

I’m worried about the prospect of a spill or fire at the tank storage farm.

The deputy fire chief in Burnaby, B.C., has issued a scathing report on the risks presented by a similar oil tank storage facility on the West Coast. The chief warned that a fire at the expanded tank farm could create a “nightmare scenario” resulting in a massive urban evacuation.

I am having trouble trusting TransCanada and Irving Oil. Despite several requests, TransCanada has refused to hold a public meeting with Red Head residents with an open question-and-answer period.

recent Reuters investigation of the New Brunswick Department of Energy found that since 2012, Irving’s export terminal has experienced at least 19 accidents classified as “environmental emergencies.” In 2013, Irving received a formal warning for taking more than a day to report a storage tank leak at the Canaport facility.

According to National Energy Board statistics, TransCanada has had more pipeline ruptures than any other company in Canada. The company’s electronic monitoring equipment won’t even detect a spill that is less than 1.5 per cent of the pipeline’s capacity. This means over 2 million litres can spill before anyone is alerted.

My concerns don’t stop at the end of my driveway.

The Energy East project would see 115 oil tankers in the Bay of Fundy — and potentially far more now that the Cacouna, Quebec, port has been cancelled. The endangered North Atlantic right whales in the Bay of Fundy are already vulnerable to ship strikes and low-frequency ship noise, both of which Energy East threatens to worsen. Moving in and out of port for export, Energy East tankers would carry 1 to 2 million barrels of oil each.

Energy East would ship diluted bitumen from the tar sands. Sticky and heavy, bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands separated from the diluents (chemicals) and sunk in Michigan’s Kalamazoo River during a pipeline spill in 2010. This cost Enbridge more than $1 billion to clean up, yet submerged oil remains on the river bed to this day.

One federal study found diluted bitumen sunk and formed “tar balls” in marine conditions similar to the Bay of Fundy. A major spill that occurs during loading of the tankers or when the tankers are leaving wouldn’t just threaten whales. It could be a serious blow for all ocean-dependent economies and jobs.

A draft federal report accessed through freedom of information admits that not enough is known about the potential toxic effects of tar sands crude in our waterways. Energy East passes through or comes near more than 300 waterways, including at least six of the St. John River’s main tributaries.

I want to do my part in helping protect future generations.

The Energy East pipeline would create more climate pollution than any single Atlantic province.

A recent scientific report says 85 per cent of Canada’s tar sands need to stay in the ground if we are to avoid the worst of climate change. Industry wants to double production by 2030 and will pursue both pipeline and rail expansion to export their product. Filling the Energy East pipeline would allow a close to 40 per cent increase in tar sands production.

We can do better. This export pipeline puts so much at risk for such short-term benefit. There is much more at stake than profit.

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Check it out: Every Living Thing – Experiencing a bioblitz

Wednesday, 05 April 2017
by Raissa Marks
Header 1 blue owl

The documentary film, Every Living Thing -­ experiencing a bioblitz, will take you on an amazing journey of what it's like to spend four weeks over two summers exploring all aspects of nature – fish, insects, plants, fungi, reptiles, amphibians and mammals - that live in NB’s own Grand Lake Protected Natural Area.

Celebrate the UN Decade of Biodiversity – host a film screening in your community!

Unlike reality TV, this documentary film features real scientists speaking about real issues affecting real people living in real communities.

Every Living Thing was produced by NB-based company, Flower Power Production, in collaboration with the New Brunswick Museum's BiotaNB program.  BiotaNB is a 20-year biodiversity research project to identify and catalogue as many species in the province of New Brunswick, before human encroachment and climate change intensifies.  The NBEN is partnering with Flower Power Production to promote community film screenings of this film across Canada. 

Sooooo many opportunities to have your say

Tuesday, 22 November 2016
by Raissa Marks
There are so many government consultations going on that it’s hard to keep track! We’re making it a bit easier by compiling a list of those of interest to environmental groups and their deadlines:

Pre-budget Provincial
New Brunswickers are invited to attend upcoming public meetings focused on priorities for the 2017-18 budget. November 16-December 5

Electoral Reform Provincial
The Commission on Electoral Reform is looking at alternative voting systems, voting age, and other election rules. Deadline: November 30

Navigable Waters Federal
Review of the previous government’s changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act. Deadline: December 7

Environmental Protection Act Federal
Comprehensive review of the provisions and operation of theCanadian Environmental Protection Act. Deadline: December 1

Charities Federal
Modernization of the rules governing charities and their political activities. Deadline: December 9

Environmental Assessment Federal
Comprehensive review of Canada’s environmental assessment processes. Deadline: December 18

Fisheries Federal
Review of the 2012-13 changes to the Fisheries Act made by the previous government. Comments welcome on restoring habitat protections that were lost and also on incorporating modern safeguards. No deadline mentioned but the committee responsible is submitting its report in “early 2017”.

National Energy Board Federal
A targeted review of the NEB’s structure, role and mandate under the National Energy Board Act. Deadline: January 17

Clean Air Act Operating Approval – Irving Provincial
Renewal of the Approval to Operate for the Irving Pulp and Paper Limited Reversing Falls Complex in Saint John. Deadline: March 7

Action Alerts

Call for nominations for the NBEN Awards - 2017

Monday, 31 July 2017
by Annika Chiasson
Every day people and environmental groups take action to protect and restore New Brunswick’s environment.  

Over this past year, who stands out in your mind? 

We invite you to nominate a group or individual deserving of one of the NBEN awards which will be presented in style at Eco-Confluence 2017.  Send an e-mail to nben@nben.ca describing your nominee’s work.  Nominees must be members or associates of the NBEN*.

Nomination deadline is September 13, 2017.

*Current NBEN Steering Committee members are not eligible for awards.

Resquest for letters of support: Proposed name restoration for the Wolastoq

Sunday, 30 April 2017
by Alma
 The Wolastoq Grand Council supports our YOUTH GROUPS on their proposal for changing the name of the Saint John River, back to it’s original and proper name; Wolastoq (the beautiful & bountiful river ). We see this as a good place to begin the process of implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; which was strongly recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  

Proposed Name Restoration: 
  • The name Saint John River back to it’s original indigenous name -  Wolastoq
Purpose: 
  • Wolastoq; (the beautiful river) is the original Indigenous name of the River.
  • Wolastoq is the name sake for the real identity and unique nationality of our People; the Wolastoqiyik.  Respecting the rights of Wolastoqiyik.
  • Scientific studies have now confirmed, what our people have always known; “that water has memory”.    This river will remember its original name.   
  • This deed would begin a process for reconciliation with a show of goodwill on the part of the Government of New Brunswick, and would;
  • Create opportunities for discussions and engagement around indigenous issues.
  • Wolastoqiyik have a right to retain their own names for communities, places and persons. 

The Wolastoq Grand Council is requesting support letters from our Allies; as individuals, organizations, and/or Groups.  For more information, contact Alma Brooks, 506-478-1256, almabrooks.26@outlook.com

Please send support letters to the following addresses:

The Wolastoq Grand Council,
Grand Chief; Ron Tremblay
50 Maliseet Drive
Fredericton, NB, E3A 2V9


David Coon
Office of the Green Party Leader
P.O. Box 6000
Fredericton, NB, E3B 5H1

Additional Information

  1. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
Carolyn Bennett; Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada; has assured the Wolastoq Grand Council in writing that; - “Canada is committed to a renewed nation to nation relationship with indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.”   Carolyn Bennett also stated that ; - “Achieving full reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous people in Canada is at the heart of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada’s mandate, and that the government of “Canada will engage with Indigenous peoples, provinces, territories, and Canadians on how to implement the Declaration in accordance with Canada’s Constitution”.

  1. Andrea Bear-Nicholas
As described in a 2011 article by Andrea Bear-Nicholas, Maliseet historian:  
  1. The first step in the dispossession for the indigenous peoples in the Maritimes began in earnest immediately after the British capture of the French fort at Louisbourg in 1758.   Where place names and names of First Nations in the entire region had been inscribed on earlier maps; both would soon be erased by colonial cartographers in a process described by J. B. Harley as cartographic colonialism.  The justifications for these erasures was found in the doctrine of discovery.   
  2. The second step in the dispossession of indigenous peoples in Nova Scotia began immediately after signing of the Treaty of 1760 by Passamaquoddy and Maliseet Leaders, and later the signing of the Mascarene Treaty.   Although there was no surrender of any lands in either of these Treaties; 1.5 million acres of Maliseet land which outlawed the surveying and expropriation of lands not yet ceded by the indigenous inhabitants or purchased by the Crown.    


  3. United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:   Articles 1, 2, 6, & 13   support and provide a guide for the implementation leading to reconciliation.

As a distinct ‘people,’ we have a right to our accurate identity and nationality.
  • Indigenous Peoples have the right to the full enjoyment as a collective or as individuals of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and international human rights law. 
  • Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin and identity. 
  • Every indigenous individual has the right to their own nationality. 
  • Indigenous people have a right to retain their own names for communities, places and persons.  “States shall take effective measures to ensure that this right is protected”.

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