On October 11, People came together to protest against TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline and the international oil port that they want to build in Cacouna, near Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec. This was the largest protest ever staged in Cacouna. There were more than 2000 people present for the protest which is more than the entire population of the small village.
If it is built, the Energy East pipeline would carry 1.1 million barrels of tar sands crude each day from Alberta to terminals in Quebec and the Maritimes. TransCanada has recently been granted permission to resume preparatory work on the port after a court-ordered suspension.
Ecologists warn TransCanada’s work disturbs the habitat and calving period of belugas, whose numbers have dropped by 12 percent in the last decade and they now number fewer than 900 in the St-Lawrence.
The protest is in addition to the 30,000 people who have signed an online petition calling for a permanent ban on “all work in critical habitat for beluga.” The Council of Canadians has called on the Harper government to respect the Species at Risk Act and declare the St. Lawrence Estuary a protected zone.
On Thursday (October 9) the federal NDP – which holds 56 of the 75 federal ridings in Quebec – introduced a motion that states, “the proposed Port of Gros-Cacouna oil terminal, which will be used for the sole purpose of exporting unprocessed Canadian oil, will have a negative impact on the Canadian economy through the loss of well-paid jobs, will constitute an unacceptable environmental threat to the St. Lawrence ecosystem, including the beluga whale population, and therefore, is not consistent with the principle of sustainable development, and must be rejected.”
The day before the protest (October 10), the environment ministry issued a warning to TransCanada for making too much noise and using too many boats to transport workers.
Although the project could be worth up to 6 billion for the province, many believe the terminal and pipeline are not worth the environmental damage they will cause.
The protest was held four days before the expiry of a Quebec Superior Court injunction on TransCanada’s exploratory drilling in Cacouna.
On Thursday (October 16) a temporary injunction against TransCanada drilling in the St. Lawrence River is set to expire. TransCanada has indicated it will resume exploratory work for the terminal at that time. The following Monday (October 20) the House of Commons is expected to vote on the NDP motion against the terminal.
On October 30th, TransCanada filed its application for the pipeline with the National Energy Board.
From October 26 to November 6, the Council of Canadians and local partners will visit communities in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to talk about why TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline is all risk and little reward for Atlantic Canada. Our tour will include public forums in Halifax (October 26), Cornwallis (October 27), Saint John (October 29), Fredericton (November 4), and Edmunston (November 6).
For more on the Council of Canadians campaign against the Energy East pipeline, please click here.
The Energy East Pipedream
Environmental Action Opposing the Energy East Pipeline
Halloween Campaign Opposing the Energy East Pipeline
Environmental Leaders Comment on the Energy East Pipeline
Cities In Ontario and Quebec Opposing Energy East
Video – Stop the Energy East Pipeline