How do you stop a pipeline when one family owns both the oil and the media?

By: Lynaya Astephen, member of Red Head Anthony's Cove Preservation Association
Read the original here

Pipeline opponent’s op-ed rejected by Irving-owned newspaper in New Brunswick

Editors’ note: Saint John’s Telegraph-Journal refused to publish this op-ed, written by a local resident to explain why over 700 people gathered on the shores of the Bay of Fundy this past Saturday to oppose Energy East, TransCanada’s proposed 1.1 million barrel per day pipeline. Like nearly all print media in the province of New Brunswick, the Telegraph-Journal is owned by the Irving family, whose company, Irving Oil, has partnered with TransCanada to build a maritime export terminal for the proposed Energy East pipeline.

I am a proud resident of Red Head, Saint John, a small rural community with quiet roads and beautiful coastal views.

TransCanada is proposing a 1.1 million barrel per day pipeline from Alberta to Saint John. After travelling almost the entire length of the country, it would end at a new deep water port on the Bay of Fundy. The Energy East project also includes a massive tank “farm” to store the oil that would be loaded onto waiting ships — across the street from my home.

Why do I oppose Energy East?

I’m worried about the air we breathe.

Saint John is highly industrialized, and residents are already exposed to increased health risks from air pollution, not to mention the oil smells near Irving’s new rail facility. We have, among other industries, Irving Oil’s export terminal and the Canaport LNG terminal. We have 38 times the industrial pollution of Fredericton and 243 times that of Moncton. A recent study found lung cancer rates 30 per cent higher in Saint John than in either of these communities. The health experts I’ve spoken to say that existing regulations for air pollution as inadequate. Yet TransCanada says air pollution from Energy East would not be significant.

I’m worried about the prospect of a spill or fire at the tank storage farm.

The deputy fire chief in Burnaby, B.C., has issued a scathing report on the risks presented by a similar oil tank storage facility on the West Coast. The chief warned that a fire at the expanded tank farm could create a “nightmare scenario” resulting in a massive urban evacuation.

I am having trouble trusting TransCanada and Irving Oil. Despite several requests, TransCanada has refused to hold a public meeting with Red Head residents with an open question-and-answer period.

recent Reuters investigation of the New Brunswick Department of Energy found that since 2012, Irving’s export terminal has experienced at least 19 accidents classified as “environmental emergencies.” In 2013, Irving received a formal warning for taking more than a day to report a storage tank leak at the Canaport facility.

According to National Energy Board statistics, TransCanada has had more pipeline ruptures than any other company in Canada. The company’s electronic monitoring equipment won’t even detect a spill that is less than 1.5 per cent of the pipeline’s capacity. This means over 2 million litres can spill before anyone is alerted.

My concerns don’t stop at the end of my driveway.

The Energy East project would see 115 oil tankers in the Bay of Fundy — and potentially far more now that the Cacouna, Quebec, port has been cancelled. The endangered North Atlantic right whales in the Bay of Fundy are already vulnerable to ship strikes and low-frequency ship noise, both of which Energy East threatens to worsen. Moving in and out of port for export, Energy East tankers would carry 1 to 2 million barrels of oil each.

Energy East would ship diluted bitumen from the tar sands. Sticky and heavy, bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands separated from the diluents (chemicals) and sunk in Michigan’s Kalamazoo River during a pipeline spill in 2010. This cost Enbridge more than $1 billion to clean up, yet submerged oil remains on the river bed to this day.

One federal study found diluted bitumen sunk and formed “tar balls” in marine conditions similar to the Bay of Fundy. A major spill that occurs during loading of the tankers or when the tankers are leaving wouldn’t just threaten whales. It could be a serious blow for all ocean-dependent economies and jobs.

A draft federal report accessed through freedom of information admits that not enough is known about the potential toxic effects of tar sands crude in our waterways. Energy East passes through or comes near more than 300 waterways, including at least six of the St. John River’s main tributaries.

I want to do my part in helping protect future generations.

The Energy East pipeline would create more climate pollution than any single Atlantic province.

A recent scientific report says 85 per cent of Canada’s tar sands need to stay in the ground if we are to avoid the worst of climate change. Industry wants to double production by 2030 and will pursue both pipeline and rail expansion to export their product. Filling the Energy East pipeline would allow a close to 40 per cent increase in tar sands production.

We can do better. This export pipeline puts so much at risk for such short-term benefit. There is much more at stake than profit.



Seeking Proposals for Website and Database Development

Thursday, 18 January 2018
by Annika Chiasson
The NBEN is seeking proposals for:

1. Updated look for Our Website
2. On-line interactive Risks & Benefits Calculator (plus Appendix)

Proposals are due January 29, 2018.

National Spotlight on Moncton

Monday, 27 November 2017
by Raissa Marks
The NBEN is pleased to be the local host partner for EconoUs 2018, the annual conference of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network, which is coming to Moncton in September 2018.
ECONOUS LOGOS 2018 w tag

With a focus on green community economic development, EconoUs 2018 will feature leading speakers, engaging sessions, and tailored networking opportunities about People (inclusive communities), Planet (sustainable environments), and Economy (local prosperity) and how these things, together, create an economy that works for all.Who or what should be included in the agenda?  Let the planning committee know here:

Action Alerts

Conserve Our NB

Friday, 09 February 2018
by Nature Trust of New Brunswick

For countless generations, people in New Brunswick have cherished the wildlife and beauty of their natural surroundings. We have adopted many deeply rooted outdoor traditions that take us to the rivers, lakes, wetlands, forests, and coastlines of our beautiful province in all seasons of the year. Help protect the wild places that you love so that your family, children, and grandchildren will be able to enjoy them forever.

Over 95% of New Brunswick is currently unprotected and open to exploitation that could harm wildlife and damage the natural beauty of our province, and we need to act now to change that.

Through the Convention on Biological Diversity, Canada has signed on to conserve 17% of land and freshwater by 2020.  As Canadians, it is our shared responsibility to hold the government accountable to achieving this target. The Nature Trust of New Brunswick is urging you to speak out to your provincial representatives to declare your support for increased land conservation in the province, and encourage them to set set their own conservation goals for the province and develop an action plan to achieve these goalsThrough Pathway to Canada Target 1, an Indigenous Circle of Experts (ICE) has been identified to ensure all elements of the initiative are guided by Indigenous experts across Canada, which should be reflected in New Brunswick’s efforts as well.

A vast majority of Canadians agree that protecting the environment is one of the most important issues currently facing our country. In a recent national conservation survey, 87% of Canadians support increasing the amount of natural areas protected from development, including at national parks. Join the growing movement of people who are speaking out in support of land conservation.

We’ve made it easy for you to take action! It takes less than a minute with our online template to send a letter to your local MLA. To learn more about what you can do to support land conservation, download the Conserve Our NB toolkit.  

Printable pledge link:  Please help by joining the movement and collecting signatures from your corner of the province to show support for increased land and freshwater protection in NB. 

Please return pledge sheets with original signatures to the Nature Trust of New Brunswick office.
Next Deadline: March 13, 2018

By mail:
P.O. Box 603 Station A,
Fredericton, NB, E3B 5A6 

In person: 404 Queen St. 3rd floor,
Fredericton, NB

Have your say on Draft Water Strategy!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017
by Conservation Council of New Brunswick
A Water Strategy for New Brunswick

On October 6, 2017, the department of Environment and Local Government released a draft water strategy for comments. The draft strategy is available on the government website. Comments can be submitted by email to: or by mail to: Department of Environment and Local Government, Policy and Planning Division, P.O. Box 6000, Fredericton, N.B., E3B 5H1. Comments will be accepted until November 20, 2017.

In order to help groups with their submissions, the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, in cooperation with watershed groups, has put together key elements of a watershed strategy and a sample letter to send to the Department.

Summary​ ​of​ ​8​ ​Key​ ​Elements​ ​of​ ​a​ ​Strong​ ​Water​ ​Protection​ ​Strategy

New​ ​Brunswick​ ​deserves​ ​a​ ​water​ ​protection​ ​strategy​ ​that:
    1. is​​ ​​science-based;​ ​(involving​ ​baseline​ ​data,​ ​tracking​ ​and​ ​taking​ ​into​ ​consideration cumulative​ ​impacts,​ ​environmental​ ​flows)
    2. sets​ ​water​ ​quality​ ​standards​ ​within​ ​a​ ​working,​ ​legal​ ​mechanism;
    3. conserves​ ​all​ ​water​ ​within​ ​​watersheds​ ​including​ ​surface​ ​waters​ ​(lakes,​ ​streams,​ ​rivers) and​ ​groundwater,​ ​by​ ​developing​ ​good​ ​conservation​ ​plans,​ ​policies​ ​and​ ​practices,​ ​and uses​ ​the​ ​precautionary​ ​principle​ ​as​ ​a​ ​guiding,​ ​legally​ ​enforceable​ ​tool;
    4. protects​ ​our​ ​marine​ ​coastal​ ​areas​ ​in​ ​law;
    5. has​ ​a​ ​meaningful​ ​form​ ​of​ ​​co-governance​ ​with​ ​First​ ​Nations;
    6. includes​ ​the​ ​development,​ ​implementation​ ​and​ ​enforcement​ ​of​ ​watershed​ ​protection plans,​ ​developed​ ​in​ ​a​ ​transparent​ ​manner,​ ​involving​ ​government,​ ​businesses,​ ​watershed organizations,​ ​farmers,​ ​municipal​ ​officials,​ ​and​ ​citizens;
    7. is​ ​accountable,​ ​which​ ​includes​ ​ongoing​ ​monitoring​ ​and​ ​annual​ ​reporting​ ​to​ ​the​ ​public​ ​on the​ ​progress​ ​of​ ​goals​ ​and​ ​objectives​ ​outlined​ ​in​ ​the​ ​water​ ​protection​ ​strategy;​ ​and,
    8. is​​ ​enforceable​ ​through​ ​a​ ​modern​ ​legal​ ​framework
Sample Letter
 My name is ______, and I am writing to express my support for a strong Water Strategy in New Brunswick.

I live near ______ OR I live in ___________ watershed

Describe your favourite spot to fish/swim/paddle etc.

Share your favourite water memory.

Clean, healthy water is important to me because _____________.

Have you recently experienced a boil water order? Blue-green algae? Extreme weather? Describe what is of concern to you.

I applaud the provincial government for moving forward on its commitment to protecting our water; however I believe the draft strategy does not go far enough to ensure healthy water for my watershed.

We need a water protection strategy that (Insert one or multiple key elements).

I am afraid that if left unattended, my watershed will face ongoing and increasing treats from (pollution, wetland and coastal estuary loss, loss of adequate environmental flow to sustain aquatic life, and increasing climate change impacts such as floods, droughts, and high temperatures.)

Please protect my watershed by implementing a strong water protection strategy with modern legislation that (note key element(s)) to ensure the health of our water and people.

Thank you,
Your name.

For more information, visit the CCNB's website.