For immediate release
October 5, 2017
Ottawa - Sierra Club Canada Foundation is celebrating the announcement today that the Energy East pipeline project is cancelled. The project, that would have sent 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from the tar sands 4,500 km across the country, traversing hundreds of waterways - including the mighty St. Lawrence - and the territories of indigenous people in its path.
The first National Energy Board (NEB) Panel struck to review the project was yanked because investigative reporting revealed secret meetings between Panel members, National Energy Board executives and staff, and TransCanada consultant and former Quebec Premier, Jean Charest. A plan to build a terminal for the pipeline in Cacouna, Que. also had to be scrapped due to intense opposition because of impacts on beluga whale calving grounds.
"This project was so wrong and so dangerous, its hard to believe it was seriously contemplated," according to Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Program Director. "The emissions associated with new pipelines are inconsistent with our climate imperative and the threat to waterways, wildlife, and lands was enormous. Without diligent scrutiny and fierce opposition every inch of the way, this project might have been approved today."
The federal government committed to reviewing the role of the National Energy Board and environmental assessment laws as part of its mandate in 2015. As part of that review, Sierra Club and a suite of leading environmental groups have asked that climate commitments be incorporated into project assessments and that the environmental assessment be removed from the NEB's mandate.
TransCanada's statements indicate that new criteria Sierra Club members and thousands of Canadians pushed for - requiring them to assess upstream and downstream greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for things like production, refining, and use of the crude in the pipe, and not just the GHGs associated with building the pipeline - shaped its decision to cancel the project.
Fitzgerald adds, "We must now seize this opportunity to shift our societal resources to supporting people in industries of the future. Things like support of an interconnected electricity grid that would allow coal plants in Nova Scotia to be shut down, and allowing local, sustainable energy efficiency and renewable programs to flourish. Other pipeline projects such as Keystone XL and Kinder Morgan are still being attempted. We hope this victory gives added momentum to opposition for these projects."
For more information, please contact:
Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Program Director