Municipalities situated near the proposed corridor are opposing the Energy East Pipeline. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his minions at the National Energy Board (NEB) have been doing everything they can to fast track tar sands development. This includes preventing communities from contributing to the review.
The only exception is the Northern Ontario town of Mattawa which signed what amounts to a gag order in 2012. TransCanada Corp, the builders of the Energy East pipeline, gave the town of Mattawa a $30,000 rescue vehicle on the condition that they take a vow of silence.
One of the clauses in the agreement reads as follows:
“The Town of Mattawa will not publicly comment on TransCanada’s operations or business projects.”
Other cities are not so easily bribed. Municipalities, like Kenora, North Bay, Thunder Bay, Saint-Sulpice, L’Assomption, Tadoussac and some other mayors of towns in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec are all opposing the pipeline.
“The Energy East pipeline would be a direct threat to Kenora’s water supply and, as North America’s premier boating destination, that’s a major problem,” said Teika Newton, a Kenora community organizer, adding the pipeline would jeopardize the half a billion dollar regional tourism industry in Northwestern Ontario.
Voters in Kenora, North Bay and Thunder Bay elected city councils with strong mandates to oppose Energy East. Thunder Bay re-elected Mayor Keith Hobbs who is a vocal opponent of the pipeline. In Ottawa, a majority on city council have expressed concerns about Energy East alongside more than 50,000 Canadians who have signed petitions opposing the pipeline.
A recent report by the Goodman Group showed Quebec would receive almost no economic value from the project. The absence of economic benefit and concerns associated with environmental impacts have spurred resolutions against the pipeline.Including Quebec, at least a dozen municipal resolutions have been filed against the pipeline.
“Water is our life. And I have serious concerns about what this project will mean for our local economy,” said Hugues Tremblay, mayor of Tadoussac, a village that is a whale watching Mecca. “Those accidents in the Gulf of Mexico and with Japan’s nuclear reactors weren’t supposed to happen but they did. We’re not insulated from a mishap either.”
Some of the opposition in Quebec suggests some of the tension that divides the two solitudes. “We’re on our knees for what probably amounts to about 20 or so jobs,” said Sylvain Tremblay, the mayor of Saint-Siméon who also represents the larger regional county municipality of Charlevoix Est. “We’re being asked to pay the price so people somewhere in the rest of Canada might make more money.”
Fifty thousand people in Quebec municipalities and elsewhere in the province, have signed petitions asking the federal government to forbid TransCanada from drilling in endangered beluga habitat.
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