[The following are e-mails – one I received today and one I sent today.]
Below is a message every Canadian needs to hear.
Two weeks ago tomorrow, two guys dropped into our place on Wildgoose Lake. I had invited them, having been alerted they were travelling through that day. Robert and Adam were following the proposed route of the Energy East pipeline, from Alberta to Quebec, and interviewing people en route.
The Energy East project, an initiative of TransCanada Piplelines, would convert an ancient natural gas pipeline to carry diluted bitumen. “Dilbit” is the stuff that devastated Lac Megantic last year. Dilbit is the stuff that, once it spills into the environment, can never be entirely cleaned up. Dilbit would be carried to an eastern port so that it can be loaded into ships which occasionally leak and sometimes rupture and can spread that stuff on shores in the Maritimes or offer that opportunity to our trading partners overseas.
That ancient pipeline passes within two kilometres of our home, directly over the bedrock that supplies our well, the only source of our household water.
That ancient pipeline, no matter how they try to upgrade it, will leak and will sometimes rupture. Three years ago, only forty minutes by road from our home, that line — which now carries natural gas — ruptured. The explosion shook the community of Beardmore from a distance of two kilometres. The line comes within five hundred metres of Beardmore.
As the following email shows, a few people along the proposed route are waking up.
The people of B.C. are wide awake now as the federal government is aggressively pushing for two oil pipelines to traverse pristine areas from Alberta to the West Coast, and load that stuff into carriers that will thread through the islands and channels of one of the world’s most beautiful areas where, we all remember, the Exxon Valdez sank twenty-five years ago. That mess is still not entirely cleaned up.
The question is: Are your eyes still closed?
Have a good day . . .
WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE
Ontario is a land of water. Everywhere you look there are lakes, rivers, creeks, and swamps. It is the home to the Great Lakes, some of the best fishing in Canada, and a ridiculous amount of mosquitos. This is ‘cottage country’ – the place of weekend getaways and summer family trips – for millions. All this water means a lot of people in Ontario are concerned about the pipeline. Keith Hobbs, mayor of Thunder Bay, is very concerned about the Nipigon River crossing and what this could mean for the Great Lakes. On Lake of the Woods near Kenora thousands of cottagers spend their hot summer days on the water. The pipeline passes just north of town and under the Winnipeg River. A spill here could devastate the cottage tourism industry that Kenora relies on.
The community in North Bay has become very active against this proposed pipeline. Their rallying call has been the threat to Trout Lake, a pristine lake that is the source of the community’s water.
“We’re a city of 55,000 people and we only have one source of drinking water. Should that source become contaminated, or if there is a major spill in that source, there is no plan B. What do you do for 55,000 people when you don’t have drinking water, bathing water, cooking water, no fire protection? From an economic point of view, businesses would all have to shut down and the long term economic sustainability is catastrophic. How do you promote your city when it is well known to be the centre of the biggest mess probably in the history of the country?” Al MacDonald, Mayor of North Bay
It isn’t only about water in Ontario. Many along the route have drawn the connection between climate change and this proposed project.
Elizabeth Fraser, a retired church minister sdays, “The broader concern for myself is the environmental one. How we are connected not only locally but globally. The issues of climate change and the expansion of the tar sands that this project would enable, I am very much opposed to that. I don’t see any benefit to our Canadian population. As a citizen of the world this expansion is what I call a madness.”
It is clear that in Ontario many are already saying ‘this is our risk, and their reward’.
Thanks for reading and your support. La prochain arrêt, Québec!
Robert van Waarden, Photographer