Leaving your home is always hard. But it’s especially difficult when you have a one-and-a-half year old who hugs you so sweetly and does not know you won't be back to tuck her that night. But I need to leave her so that I can address the critical matter of pipelines.
I'm in transit to the first hearings about Energy East pipeline in Saint John, New Brunswick. The National Energy Board has allowed Sierra Club Canada Foundation time to speak in New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario. The hearings are meant to allow opportunities for local knowledge and regional concerns to be raised with the pipeline company, TransCanada, and most importantly, to be brought to the attention of the panel reviewing the project.
We don't like this project because it will be a significant investment in fossil fuel infrastructure - 4,500 km of pipeline, $15.7 billion in private money and millions in public funds - at a time when we need to be switching quickly to efficiency and renewables.
We don't like this proposal because tankers carrying this fuel will increase threats to the critically endangered right whale and other species that live in the Bay of Fundy. We don't like it because bioblitzes conducted on the pipeline route reveal that there are species and places that simply cannot be put in jeopardy by spills.
We don't like the threat to population centres and the waters they rely on for safe drinking water.
We'll be working with experts in our Chapters to bring these concerns and others to the attention of the Panel. We hope the Panel will have no choice but to advise rejection of this project after they have completed their work in two years' time
I am making my way to the pipeline hearings via Digby, where we are fighting for the result of another environmental assessment process to stand. We are driving through exquisite scenery on the Bay of Fundy, and will be transiting the bay on the Digby Ferry this evening. The people are friendly and so kind to the tourists that come flocking to the area to experience the whales, the history, and the extraordinary beauty of this special place.
But I wish I was home. And while it's hard to keep traveling further from home, it's harder to know this project will be so damaging to my kid’s future. But because it is so wrong-headed, I have to go. I hope it's worth the teary eyes and the ache I feel. Will let you know.
Gretchen Fitzgerald - National Program Director
P.S.: Any donation you can make to help support these urgent efforts to stop this harmful pipeline are most gratefully accepted! Thank you.