The August 13, 2015 report by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to the Ontario government is clear: the tar sands pipeline’s economic benefits are not balanced with the environmental risks to Ontario. Public input made it clear that the risky project does not have the support of communities along the pipeline route in Ontario.
The report also highlighted concerns of Métis and First Nations that TransCanada’s duty to consult has not been sufficiently fulfilled. This is alarming as yet another pipeline project risks ignoring Aboriginal rights.
For a copy of the OEB report on the proposed Energy East pipeline, click here.
It was just over two years ago when Ecology Ottawa supporters and others across the province began voicing their concern over the Energy East pipeline. Plans to pump Alberta bitumen across most of Canada, all of Ontario and within Ottawa city limits spurred huge numbers of people to make their concerns heard.
People knew that even the most modern oil pipelines sometimes cause spills—and Energy East would include large sections of repurposed OLD pipeline. They also knew that even without spills, harvesting and pumping millions of barrels of tar sands oil per day would only compound the problem of climate change.
Many of you wrote emails, made phone calls, signed petitions or attended rallies. The clamour of protest was so compelling that before six months had gone by the Province of Ontario felt compelled to act. In an unprecedented move, in November of 2013 the Ontario Energy Board was tasked with gathering information on the pipeline, and on people’s concerns about the pipeline. Ontario intended to provide a rigorous submission to the National Energy Board on its position on the project.
Nothing succeeds like success, they say, and having expressed our concern we were once more invited to attend Ontario Energy Board meetings where we could express it again, and again. Hundreds of you attended the official sessions held across the province and submitted your opinions in writing. Last month, the Ontario Energy Board revealed its conclusion: the risks of the project outweigh the benefits.
To be sure, the final decision to recommend approval or rejection of the Energy East pipeline project lies with the National Energy Board, not the Ontario Energy Board. But it is no small feat to have brought the risks of this project to the official attention of the largest province in Canada and to have them agree. These grave reservations will likely form the basis of Ontario’s official position when intervening in the National Energy Board hearings.
So pat yourself on the back. You’ve helped make something significant happen.