On June 27 in the post titled A CASE OF EYES CLOSED, I wrote this:
“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.”
I noted that the converted pipeline would pass within two klicks of my doorstep.
Robert Van Waarden has sent out another update, as follows:
” Hi Edgar,
Throughout most of Canada the proposed Energy East pipeline means converting an old natural gas pipeline to carry crude and ‘dilbit’ – abrasive, diluted bitumen. However, in Quebec the pipe would be all new. This construction, through a province that historically has been environmentally progressive, not to mention politically-distinct within Canada, brings additional complexity to the politics of the pipeline.
Coming in from Ontario I passed Kanesatake, (where we created our first multimedia piece) and then headed east of Montreal. I stopped at location where the pipeline would cross the massive St. Lawrence river, a point just upstream from the water intake for Quebec City and Lévis.
Jacques Anctil from Fondation Québécoise pour la Protection du patrimoine Nature examines the St. Lawrence river near where the proposed pipe would cross.
Our interviews on the north side of the river revealed many people against the project. Jacques Anctil from the FQPPN explained that not only is the FQPPN against the project but the town of St. Augustin de Demaurs has adopted a resolution opposing the project. Although I didn’t have time to check it out, I understand that this opposition on the north side of the river isn’t mirrored on the south.
I moved further east, past the cliffs of Quebec city, past the refinery of Lévis and to St. Raphael. In St. Raphael I was lucky to attend a locally-organized meeting for landowners affected by the pipeline. At that meeting I learned how TransCanada is trying to divide and conquer. I heard a few stories how a representative from TransCanada will show up at a landowner’s house and tell them they are the last person on the route in the area to ‘sign’, so they should sign too. Not only is this false, but it is then followed up with, ‘if you don’t sign we will expropriate your property anyway’. In St. Raphael this tactic has encouraged the landowners to form a group to represent their interests. In St. Raphael and across the country this proposed pipeline is bringing neighbours and strangers together.
From St. Raphael you can follow the Coule Pas Chez Nous signs to Cacouna, the site for a proposed export terminal for Energy East. This area is known for its whales – particularly Belugas – and tourism is a main driver of the economy. Slightly downstream from Cacouna is the village of L’Ilse Verte. Cynthia, owner of the artisan paper shop Algue D’or, reflected how this wasn’t the first time that her community has to deal with TransCanada. About 10 years ago TransCanada tried to develop a shipping port for the export of methane gas. Cynthia says that the proposal destroyed the social fabric of the region for years. When a little community doesn’t talk to each other, when people dispute, disagree, lose their jobs, it is extremely detrimental to daily life. For TransCanada to return with essentially the same port proposal, but for oil export, has Cynthia very worried about the impacts on the psychological and social fabric of the region.
From L’Isle Verte we moved inland towards Témiscouata. If you ever get a chance to stop at the fromagerie at Témiscouata, make sure you try the Grey Owl goat cheese. Around Témiscouata we encountered a community of individuals that were strongly against the pipeline. I will be posting some of those stories at alongthepipeline.com soon.
After Témiscouata I returned home to Montreal, where I am writing this from. I have now travelled the full Energy East pipeline route and it has been incredible. Over the next few weeks I will be editing the project so stay tuned for more. Thanks for your support. Robert”
Are your eyes cracking?