Energy East ‘threatens’ drinking water for millions of Canadians


A proposed TransCanada pipeline could contaminate the drinking water sources for up to five million Canadians, a new report suggests. According to Environmental Defence, TransCanada’s Energy East project – which would pump 1.1 billion barrels of crude from Alberta’s tar sands to coastal seaports – places nearly 3,000 drinkable water sources at risk of oil contamination if the pipeline were to rupture. TransCanada has a history of their oil infrastructure failing in the past, with one of its pipelines transporting Alberta crude bursting earlier this week in the US. As reports continue to magnify the dangers of sustaining a fossil fuel economy, Canada’s leaders face surmounting pressure to phase out any prospects of a dirty energy economy, and to instead make room for a 100 per cent renewable future.


Key Points

  • Energy East could devastate communities. Not only would this pipeline risk contaminating the drinking water for millions of Canadians, Energy East – the largest proposed pipeline in North America – would cut through major cities and First Nations living along its proposed route. Energy East could also generate up to 32 million tonnes in additional greenhouse gas emissions each year in Canada, once again placing frontline communities at the forefront of its devastating impacts.
  • TransCanada has a history of being reckless. At the end of last summer, TransCanada drilled boreholes in the Bay of Fundy for pipeline exploration without consulting nearby communities, while just this week, the oil giant is caught up in another scandal with its Keystone pipeline rupture in South Dakota. By allowing TransCanada to build Energy East, the federal government would be placing people’s safety in the hands of a company that has continuously failed to protect the interests of communities.
  • Fossil fuels no longer make sense for Canada’s economy. The oil price slump has created economic instability in provinces like Alberta, which was highly dependent on the volatile commodity, and projects like Energy East won’t alleviate that situation since it would create few permanent jobs. At a time where leading experts agree that switching to renewables could stimulate growth, a full transition towards a 100 per cent clean energy future could be within Canada’s reach as early as 2050.


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  • “Protecting our most valuable resource – clean water – must take precedence over exporting dirty oil […]Just one pipeline rupture in any one of the vulnerable locations that we identified along Energy East’s proposed route could contaminate drinking water sources for years to come. Canadians should not sacrifice our clean drinking water for oil companies’ profits.” – Adam Scott, Climate and Energy Program Manager at Environmental Defence
  • “Access to clean drinking water is essential to community health, but Energy East would put that at risk […] It’s unthinkable to add the threat of toxic oil pollution as a new risk to community drinking water supplies.” – Teika Newton, Executive Director at Transition Initiative Kenora
  • “With a pipeline the size of Energy East, a major rupture threatens to be the largest pipeline spill Canada has ever experienced […] Diluted bitumen sinks to the bottom of rivers and lakes and sticks to everything it touches, making a full cleanup next to impossible. Energy East is simply not worth the risk.” – Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy & climate justice campaigner at the Council of Canadians

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