Letter to Editor | Energy East Pipeline

Energy East Pipeline

The Energy East pipe line proposal threatens the water supply of communities across the country. Canadians are being asked to bear the risk of the Energy East proposal while the benefits largely go to foreign corporations. The risks are being underestimated by the proponent (Trans Canada Pipeline), to gain political support and profit. The employment benefits to Canadians are grossly exaggerated. This extensive proposal, involving 4500 kms of aged pipeline, threatens the ecology, the water supply of 5 million Canadians, their communities, and their futures.

The Energy East pipe line proposal lacks best practice evidence and engineering science to make it safe!

Bitumen in gas pipeline is a failed technology. This is what happens to a gas line when it transports bitumen (Kalamazoo Spill)

To transport thick, crude oil, called bitumen, in the aged, gas pipeline, it is diluted with toxic carcinogens (i.e., naptha). The weight of bitumen is 18 times natural gas, adding new stresses to the old pipeline, especially at contours, where the pipe drops down under rivers.

In open rivers or under ice, a bitumen leak could travel hundreds of kilometers, laying a layer of bitumen that will leach toxic chemicals for decades. On the existing gas pipelines across Canada, there have been 12 major breaks (1700 leaks in total), over a 20 year period. (google ŒPipeline map: CBC News, Michael Peveira)‰.

The leak detection technology has proven inadequate. In two major bitumen leaks in Kalamazoo, Michigan and the May Flour spill in Arkansas, leak detection failed outright. The claims made by the pipeline companies on the effectiveness of leak detection systems and their response times, have been proven false.

There is no publicly accountable cleanup procedure or standards and so there is little possibility of adequate compensation for major pipeline ruptures. In Canada the pipeline corporation is responsible for the cleanup, and if you are not happy with the spill in your community, you can take the pipeline corporation to court. In their clean up estimates, there is no value placed on displacement, such as costs of people moving away, property devaluation due to a spill, and economic loss due to business or community shut-downs. Water supply replacement (if possible), caused by toxic, carcinogenic contamination from bitumen is lacking in their clean-up and liability plans.

Historically, pipeline corporations‚ liability claim funds, have been inadequate. If the pipeline is not making a profit, which is possible in a declining oil market, funds for cleanup will be very scarce.

What will people do when their water supply is declared unfit for human use as a result of chemical contamination? Why not ask your Chief, Mayor, MPP and MP?

Ambrose Raftis

Charlton Ontario


Montreal Gazette | Energy East pipeline spill could affect drinking water, experts warn

Montreal Gazette | May 26 | Water treatment experts say they fear for the supply of drinking water to several municipalities in Quebec in the event of a major spill from the Eastern Energy pipeline.

Most waste water treatment plants in the metropolitan area have no spare water intake, in case of such an event, and they have a supply of water for only 12 to 16 hours, the teaching staff at a vocational centre specializing in the field told a news conference in Montreal on Thursday.

The teachers at the National Water Treatment Training Centre, run by Commission scolaire des Trois-Lacs, is one of two such centres in Quebec. It produced a 40-page draft on the Energy East TransCanada pipeline, evaluating the impact on drinking water from a potential major oil spill.

Guy Coderre, one of the presenters, did not pull any punches, saying the “flushgate” in Montreal — which concerned only the discharge of waste water, not drinking water — the Saguenay flood and drinking water problems experienced in the wake of the tragedy of Lac-Mégantic would be nothing compared to what might happen to the water supply in case of a major spill of East Energy pipeline.


Presse Canadienne, Published on: May 26, 2016 as posted at http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/energy-east-pipeline-spill-could-affect-drinking-water-warn-teachers

Calgary Sun | Wynne soothes Calgary Chamber of Commerce crowd and industry leaders

Calgary Sun | 29 May | Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne reassured a Calgary business crowd Friday that Alberta’s natural gas will be welcome in her province and that new pipelines carrying oilsands crude have a potential path forward.

Wynne spoke at a Calgary Chamber of Commerce luncheon attended by prominent CEOs, including TransCanada Corp.’s Russ Girling, Enbridge’s Al Monaco, Imperial Oil’s Rich Kruger, TransAlta’s Dawn Farrell and AltaLink’s Scott Thon, following a business roundtable that included the corporate leaders.

She told reporters she had a “pretty collegial conversation” with the executives after she told them her Liberal government did not intend to phase out the use natural gas in Ontario as part of its pending climate change plan.

“I made it clear natural gas is part of our long-term plan,” said Wynne, who provided few other details.

A cabinet document leaked to the Globe and Mail last week suggested Ontario was planning to end the use of natural gas for heating in new homes and small buildings by 2030. Natural gas is currently the primary heating source for Ontario homes.

In her speech to about 150 people at the Hyatt Regency, Wynne said she is “keenly aware” of Alberta’s need to get its energy resources to market.

“The proposed Energy East pipeline represents one such option,” Wynne said of the proposed TransCanada project that would ship oilsands crude cross-country — including through Ontario — to refineries in New Brunswick.

“It would bring benefits to Albertans and to our national economy. At the same time, we must ensure that a project of this size and scope meets the highest environmental and safety standards — and that it fulfils our collective responsibility to First Nation communities and to future generations.”

Tim McMillan, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, thanked Wynne when she concluded her remarks.

“Your acts over the last few days clarifying the role of natural gas in Ontario’s future has been something that is very well-received,” he said.

Chamber president Adam Legge also welcomed the Ontario leader’s comments on natural gas.

He also said Wynne’s comments that Alberta’s action on climate change could help pave the path for a pipeline is “a big step for Alberta.”

Much of Wynne’s speech was devoted to Ontario’s climate change plan, which includes a cap-and-trade system on greenhouse gas emissions and significant investments in renewable energy, and has already eliminated coal-fired electricity.


As printed in the Calgary Sun, By James Wood, Postmedia, Friday, May 27, 2016 08:50 PM MDT, at http://www.calgarysun.com/2016/05/27/wynne-soothes-calgary-chamber-of-commerce-crowd-and-industry-leaders

Gordon Laxer: More pipelines aren’t needed to supply Canadians

The Province | May 24 | Would leaving much of Canada’s oil in the soil prop up Saudi Arabia’s odious dictatorship? That’s Joseph Maloney’s far-fetched case against the Leap Manifesto in his op-ed Friday.

The boilermakers union representative notes that Eastern Canada imports nearly all its oil. If Canada doesn’t build new oil pipelines, he contends, it will continue importing oil from “such paragons of democracy as Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Algeria and Angola”.

Maloney’s argument makes no sense. The Kinder Morgan and Northern Gateway pipelines to the west coast, and the Energy East pipeline to New Brunswick are proposed oil exporting lines. How would exporting more oil displace oil imports into Canada?

Since December, Enbridge Line 9 has supplied Quebec’s two oil refineries with western Canadian and U.S. shale oil. Quebec now imports very little oil from the Middle East.

TransCanada has proposed to convert and build the Energy East oil pipeline to New Brunswick. It would not end oil imports to Atlantic Canadians. Mark Sherman, plant manager at the Irving oil refinery in St. John, New Brunswick, where the Energy East line would terminate, said the line would send “way more than we would ever use at this refinery, so the bulk of it would all be exported.”


May 24, 2016. 10:16 am • Section: Opinion, The Province, http://blogs.theprovince.com/2016/05/24/gordon-laxer-more-pipelines-arent-needed-to-supply-canadians/

TransCanada agrees to negotiate with Matawa First Nations on Energy East

Timmins Daily Press | May 23 | TransCanada has apparently agreed to meet with the Matawa First Nations in Northern Ontario, which are near the natural gas pipeline it wants to convert to carry bitumen from Alberta as part of the Energy East Pipeline Project.

Speaking at the Nishnawbe Aski Nation Spring Chiefs Assembly in Timmins on Wednesday, Raymond Ferris, the senior advisor for the Aroland First Nation, said that after demands that they be engaged by the company, TransCanada has agreed to meet to discuss the impacts of Energy East.

“Last week there was a conference call, and they finally agreed to meet and discuss these issues,” confirmed Ferris. “This is not just a local issue; it is a national issue. It’s time to get Nishnawbe Aski involved and define what role it will play.

The chiefs and other delegates gathered in Timmins were told that the Matawa First Nations have “grave concerns” about the Energy East project, even though the pipeline being converted has been in the area since 1958.

But the fact that the pipeline has been in their territory for nearly 60 years without any direct benefit to their communities said Ferris, is part of the problem.

“Since 1958 TransCanada has been operating the country’s second-largest natural gas pipeline,” Ferris told the delegates. “There is a very large right-of-way running right through your territories with no agreements in place. In British Columbia they are signing 11 agreement with First Nations for a coastal natural gas pipeline, why not here?”

The goal from here on, said Ferris, is to negotiate an agreement with TransCanada to protect First Nation rights and interests. But, he said, the communities will not be “suckered into” in agreement that gives them temporary construction jobs and little else.

One issue that the Matawa First Nations may want to see changed is the company’s plan to build new six pumping stations between Nipigon and Constance Lake that will have their own power generators on site.

Having the stations power themselves does not help the communities, said Ferris. Instead, they want the generators to require new transmission lines be run up to them so that the communities can take advantage of them as well.


Alan Hale, Timmins Daily Press Monday, May 23, 2016 5:13:51 EDT PM, as posted at http://www.timminspress.com/2016/05/23/transcanada-agrees-to-negotiate-with-matawa-first-nations-on-energy-east

North Bay Chamber of Commerce criticized for failing to examine both sides of the Energy East debate (May 2016)

North Bay Nugget | Letter To the Editor

I had penned this letter the day before wildfires wrought devastation to Fort McMurray and surrounding communities.

Out of respect to the hard-working women and men of Fort McMurray, many of whom have lost everything, I withheld this letter’s submission to avoid sparking a jobs vs the environment or a left vs right debate.

Having worked as a geologist in the Fort Mckay area, I know the dedication and strong work ethic possessed by the people of Fort Mac. No one can blame a tradesman or professional for uprooting their families from economically stagnate regions of Canada for far better employment opportunities in Fort McMurray.

I read with dismay Jake Lacourse’s April 28 letter to the editor of The Nugget on behalf the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce expressing its support of TransCanada’s Energy East Project. As a member of Stop Energy East North Bay, a coalition of individuals and groups working against the flawed conversion proposal, I felt compelled to write a response.

Unfortunately for North Bay, the wording of Mr. Lacourse’s letter suggests the only meetings the chamber has attended regarding the pipeline were those hosted by TransCanada and staffed by their corporate communications team.

It is understandable that the chamber does not want to rebuke a business that has been a good employer in North Bay for decades. However, on such an important community issue, it is incumbent on the chamber to review all information available from both proponents and opponents before making such bold and misleading statements about the project in The Nugget.

Mr. Lacourse’s comments were clearly biased in favour of a project that many citizens and environmental groups, locally, nationally and internationally state as potentially disastrous to communities and ecosystems along its route.
A large and growing number of people in North Bay object to this project due to concerns about the inherent risks such a pipeline poses to the lifeblood of the city, our water.

I would encourage the chamber to reach out to groups in our community opposed to Energy East and listen to their science- and fact-based perspectives. Stop Energy East North Bay has asked to meet with the chamber on a number of occasions without success.
The chamber did not attend the April 26 town hall meeting with the Council of Canadians’ Maude Barlow or even attempt to secure a meeting with Ms.Barlow and her colleagues at last year’s CoC event.

Ms. Barlow is a respected world expert on the environment and water security. This was a lost opportunity to hear an informed perspective on Energy East proposal which unfortunately is reflective of the chamber’s limited outlook.
For a contrasting perspective, let’s examine a few of the “facts” presented by Mr. Lacourse as they pertain to the Energy East project:

1. Jobs
The claim that thousands of jobs will be generated by the project to the benefit of North Bay, Ontario and all of Canada does not bare close scrutiny.
The major construction phase will occur east of Montreal to a new port facility outside St. John, N.B.
The rest of the route will simply involve converting valves and pump stations to accommodate the heavy diluted bitumen instead of methane.
This is very similar to claims made during the lobbying effort to develop the Keystone Pipeline. Unfortunately for TransCanada, US State Department analysis showed that the number of permanent jobs resulting from the line were actually closer to 40.
TransCanada itself reports that only 200 long-term jobs in Ontario will be associated with the project and many of these are in reality pre-existing positions.
The world is rapidly moving toward embracing carbon-neutral energy generation. As wood was replaced by coal, and coal by oil and gas, oil and gas is being replaced by renewables. This transition will require massive national and provincial infrastructure investment and development in fixed assets that will last for generations completing the electrification process begun over a century ago.

2. The diluted bitumen is to be used for Canadian consumption
Not a single Ontarian or Quebecer will be using this product in their engines, homes or even in bitumen’s traditional role as a paving surface. The fact is no refinery along this line is capable of upgrading bitumen to synthetic crude that can then be refined to gasoline or diesel fuel. It will simply be exported off shore to refineries. This is the reason TransCanada require access to a tide water port.
It is important to recognize that this pipeline will not be transporting relatively benign oil or anything that could remotely be called oil.
It will be transporting highly toxic solvents (including benzene) and bitumen. This toxic, volatile slurry is called dilbit, it is not oil. Industry spokespersons do not like the sound of diluted bitumen or dilbit and simply choose to call it oil.

3. Pipeline versus rail transport to refineries in the United States and abroad
We would like to point out that saying no to the Energy East pipeline proposal would not see an increase in trains carrying diluted bitumen through North Bay.
To imply that North Bay is currently threatened by a rail spill simply reflects poor knowledge of the facts.
CN and CP cargo trains from western Canada pass through Sudbury then southward toward Toronto and rail links to other destinations.
However, the Energy East pipeline will see 1.1 million barrels or 175,000,000 litres of diluted bitumen passing through North Bay’s watershed and in the hills above Trout Lake each and every day.
Because of the extremely large 42-inch diameter of the pipeline, (the largest in North America), if the pipeline casing was to be breached for a single hour within North Bay’s city limits, 46,000 barrels or 7,314,000 litres of dilbit would start racing down slope to the nearest body of water, Trout Lake.
When a train derailment and spill occurs the incident is registered immediately. In other words, you know where, when and exactly how much has spilled. The rail infrastructure also ensures that that response team and material can be transported directly to site. Not true for pipeline as breaches are often discovered by local passersby, as was the case in Kalamazoo Michigan. They can and do spill for days or even months before anyone notices.
Diluted bitumen is flowing out of Alberta right now by existing pipelines and trains. North Bay should not be asked to bear the risk of a pipeline experiment in Trout Lake’s watershed. The Energy East pipeline will facilitate further expansion of bitumen extraction projects in Alberta and Saskatchewan that will in turn hamper Canada’s commitment to reduce the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. The Alberta government itself has listed both droughts and increased forest fires as events that are been made more likely due to climate change.
This project poses too many risks for our city and a cleanup would cost billions

On April 25, the Council of Canadians released a report that conservatively estimated the cost of a pipeline spill into Trout Lake at $1billon. This number was calculated using pipeline industry data for clean-up costs in other jurisdictions. This does not include the long-term cost associated with human physical and mental health, real estate values or the very brand of North Bay which would forever be associated with a toxic spill.

The chamber should ask their counterparts with the chamber of commerce in Kalamazoo, Mich., if they would recommend endorsing a pipeline that threatens North Bay’s water supply.

Many North Bay residents sincerely believe the pipeline will have a negative effect on local business and future investment. TransCanada’s record in North Bay area alone contains two catastrophic ruptures, how can we risk a third exponentially more destructive to occur.

North Bay’s location, natural beauty, lifestyle and secure clean water supply are brand attributes that appeal to 21st century businesses and their employees. One spill and our brand is destroyed for decades to come.
A global clean water shortage exists, to risk the most valuable resource on the planet for simple short-term and minor financial gain is foolish in the extreme. The issue really can be pared down to one simple question: Will North Bay embrace the future or past?

Steve Courtney M.Sc
THEIA GeoAnalytics

North Bay

Letter to the Editor, North Bay Nugget, Printed 20 May 2016, as posted at http://www.nugget.ca/2016/05/20/group-criticized-for-failing-to-examine-both-sides-of-the-energy-east-debate

TransCanada doesn’t know how to send tons of oil under these major Canadian rivers (May 2016) FULL STORY

National Observer | Christian Foisy was puzzled when he saw that a new 38,885 page cross-Canada oil pipeline application, submitted this week, had a placeholder” document describing a rather sensitive location close to his own home, just west of Montreal.

The “placeholder” means that Alberta-based TransCanada Corp still hasn’t figured out how to safely run this new proposed pipeline, Energy East, through a section of the Ottawa River, near Montreal. The company says it also needs to do more seismic testing – using air cannons – to determine the best way to build a concrete tunnel for the pipeline about 100 metres below the floor of the Saint Lawrence River, west of Quebec City.

This leaves Foisy feeling nervous about the pipeline. If completed, Energy East would carry up to 1.1 million barrels of oil from Alberta and Saskatchewan toward refineries and an export terminal in Quebec and New Brunswick. Energy East’s 4,600 kilometre route passes through or near several major Canadian waterways. Most parts of the project would require the conversion of an existing TransCanada natural gas pipeline. But more than 1,000 kilometres of the route requires installation of a brand new pipeline.

While the oil industry, investment bankers and federal government officials have said that Canadian companies can safely build new pipeline infrastructure to fuel economic growth and provide revenues to support a transition to cleaner economy, environmentalists and other critics say that the missing pieces of TransCanada’s application should raise alarms about the risks of betting on pipelines.

“We are talking here about the feasibility of the pipeline at two critical locations (near Montreal and Quebec City),” Foisy said in an interview with National Observer. “It’s inconceivable that (federal government officials) can consider this (application) complete without the technical information for these crossings.”

TransCanada has known for about two years that its initial plan to install Energy East through the Ottawa River was flawed, based on an environmental report prepared by a consulting firm, Foisy said.

This was submitted in 2014 as part of the company’s original application for the project, but the NEB has deleted this report from its website along with other “outdated” documents in response to a request from the company that was sent on May 6, 2016.

TransCanada spokesman Tim Duboyce said it was “absolutely normal” for the company’s application to have a bunch of moving parts that change over time. In fact, Foisy confirmed that similar issues about missing information arose during the National Energy Board’s review of Enbridge Inc.’s proposed Line 9 reversal project — another pipeline project that allowed for an increase in oil exported from western Canada to the east.


By Mike De Souza in the National Observer | May 20th 2016, as posted at http://www.nationalobserver.com/2016/05/20/news/transcanada-doesn%E2%80%99t-know-how-send-tons-oil-under-these-major-canadian-rivers