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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Action Alerts

ACTION ALERT: Reinstate funding to the Canadian Environmental Network

Friday, 03 February 2017
by Raissa Marks
The Canadian Environmental Network and its provincial affiliate networks need your help!

Historically, the Canadian Environmental Network and its provincial affiliate networks including the NBEN received annual core funding from the Government of Canada. This was used to facilitate networking on environmental issues across the country, coordinate national and provincial issue-based caucuses, coordinate ENGO participation in federal public consultation processes, and maintain open lines of communication between ENGOs and the federal government.

In 2011, as part of the across-the-board cuts to civil society organizations by the previous federal government, all federal funding to the RCEN and its provincial affiliate networks was cut. This left the national network and most of the affiliates with functioning primarily on a voluntary basis with limited capacity to do their work.

There is hope that the current government will provide for renewed funding in its upcoming budget. This funding is crucial for the survival of the national network and many of the provincial affiliate networks. A proposal has been submitted. It now needs strong and immediate support from environmental groups and individuals across the country.

This is where you come in!

Please take a few minutes to write to Prime Minister Trudeau and your MP telling them why you value the RCEN, your provincial affiliate network, or environmental networking at the national level in general. Feel free to use the template letter provided below. You can personalize it based on your experience or simply copy and paste.

Trudeau’s email is justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca and you can find your MP’s email here: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Parliamentarians/en/members

Let’s show our federal politicians that a strong, well-connected grassroots environmental community is essential to a strong Canada!

Draft Template Letter:

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

I am writing to ask that annual core funding to the Canadian Environmental Network (RCEN) be reinstated.

Historically, the RCEN provided a crucial link between environmental groups across the country, both large and small. This link was vital in helping communities address environmental issues right across the country and ensuring a robust approach to the development of environmental policy in Canada.

Since funding was cut in 2011, the RCEN and most of its provincial affiliate networks have been functioning primarily on a voluntary basis with limited capacity to do their work. This is not acceptable. A strong, well-connected grassroots environmental community is essential to a strong Canada. I urge you to reinstate core funding for this crucial work immediately.

Sincerely,

Still Time to Submit Comments - Snowmobile Trail Development up Mount Carleton

Monday, 21 November 2016
by Roberta Clowater, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - New Brunswick Chapter
You can still send in your comments until end of day Nov 21 (Monday) on the environmental assessment report about the proposed snowmobile trail at Mount Carleton Provincial Park. If you're not sure what to say, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - NB Chapter has summarized some of our key messages here: http://cpawsnb.org/images/upload/key_messages_EIA.pdf

Please send comments or questions to: lynn.white@gnb.ca or mail to: Lynn White, Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture, P.O. Box 6000, Fredericton, NB E3B 5H1.