Featured image: “We witnessed a People’s Intervention that forced the climate costs of Energy East to the forefront of the pipeline review,” said Aurore Fauret, Tar Sands Campaign coordinator at 350.org. (Photo: Pax Ahimsa Gethen/Flickr/cc)
In what environmentalists are calling a major victory for pipeline opponents and the planet, TransCanada announced Thursday that it is abandoning its Energy East pipeline project, which would have carried over a million barrels of crude oil across Canada per day.
Oil Change International (OCI) estimated in an analysis earlier this year that Energy East would produce an additional 236 million tons of carbon pollution each year. For this reason and many others, OCI applauded TransCanada’s decision to nix the project, which was first proposed in 2013.
“This is an important day in the fight against climate change in Canada,” Adam Scott, senior advisor at OCI, said in a statement on Thursday. “Energy East was a disaster waiting to happen. The pipeline and tanker proposal scheme was utterly incompatible with a world where we avoid the worst impacts of climate change.”
Aurore Fauret, Tar Sands Campaign coordinator at 350.org, echoed Scott’s celebration and highlighted the grassroots mobilization that brought the pipeline into public view and ultimately helped ensure its defeat.
“We witnessed a People’s Intervention that forced the climate costs of Energy East to the forefront of the pipeline review,” Fauret said. “Over 100,000 messages were sent to the National Energy Board (NEB) demanding it consider all the emissions the project would generate. Close to 2,000 people applied as intervenors, citing climate change as one of their reasons. Two years later, after the NEB accepted to review the climate costs of the pipeline, TransCanada is calling it quits.”
TransCanada also announced Thursday that it is ditching the Eastern Mainline pipeline project in the face of critical scrutiny from Canadian energy regulators.
Both projects from their inception faced fierce opposition from Indigenous groups and climate activists, who often referred to Energy East as a “ticking time bomb” that posed a tremendous threat to sacred lands and the water supply.
“It simply is not worth the risk,” Maude Barlow, honorary chairperson with the Council of Canadians, concluded in 2014.
But while the downfall of both Energy East and Eastern Mainline was welcomed by those who worked tirelessly for years to guarantee their defeat, activists issued an urgent reminder that the fight against pipelines in both Canada and the United States has only just begun.
“The end of Energy East shows that extreme energy projects are part of our past not our future,” Barlow said in a statement on Thursday. “For all of our sakes, Kinder Morgan, Line 3, Line 10, and Keystone XL must face the same fate.”
Grand Chief Serge Simon of the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake agreed, arguing Thursday that “it will be a hollow victory” if any of the many other pipelines under consideration “are allowed to steamroll over Indigenous opposition and serve as an outlet for even more climate-killing tar sands production.”
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