Proposed pipeline would contribute almost twice as much carbon pollution to the air as all of New Brunswick, but climate change ignored in the filing
(Fredericton, N.B.) The Executive Director of Conservation Council of New Brunswick says the multiple risks associated with a proposed oil pipeline from Alberta to Saint John could put thousands of important fishery and tourism jobs at risk.
“In ten minutes, a broken pipeline could spew out 1-million litres of dense, sticky oil,” says Lois Corbett, Executive Director of CCNB. “We’ve seen in other areas how devastating an oil spill can be to thriving fishing and tourism communities, and how expensive if not nearly impossible they can be to clean up. And tarsand oil is even more trouble,” she says.
Scientists at Environment Canada have said that in cold, salt water, diluted bitumen would be particularly devastating as it has been shown to sink and form tar balls in marine conditions such as those in the iconic Bay of Fundy.
Corbett is concerned about the potential impact of increased tanker traffic in the Bay of Fundy on endangered species such as the North Atlantic Right Whale. Hunted to near extinction, right whales are the rarest of all large whales. Experts estimate that only several hundred exist in the wild and Corbett notes sightings in the Bay of Fundy have been down over the past year.
The Executive Director of New Brunswick’s leading environmental advocate also questions what impact the proposed pipeline project would have on freshwater quality, sport fishing, river recreation and cottage owners. The Energy East route will see crude pumped under or across several important water bodies in the province, including rivers and streams in the St. John River basin, the Miramichi, Tobique, Salmon and Madawaska rivers, Coal Creek (which drains into Grand Lake), and the Bay of Fundy.
Corbett says the National Energy Board’s assessment of the project can’t help but fall far short from being complete in its failure to address the project’s carbon pollution. The NEB has said earlier it will not consider so-called upstream issues like climate change. “Providing information for the public to review without factoring in the effect the eventual burning of these million barrels per day will have on climate change is a glaring omission,” she says.
If built, TransCanada’s proposed pipeline would be the largest in North America. It would carry 1.1 million barrels of oil per day over 4,400 kilometres to port in Saint John, N.B. The project would facilitate a 40% expansion of the Alberta tar sands and increase national greenhouse gas emissions by 32 million tonnes – more emissions currently produced than all of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador combined. This greenhouse gas measure does not include the emissions that would come from the eventual burning of the oil.
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