Energy East Pipeline Opposed by Montreal, Quebec Mayors

Montreal mayor Denis Coderre and mayors from other prominent Quebec municipalities are against TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline.

On behalf of the Montreal Metropolitan Community, which represents 82 municipalities and 3.9 million people, Coderre vowed Thursday to fight the controversial pipeline project. The mayors of Laval and Longueuil, which are part if the Montreal Metropolitan Community (MMC), are in Coderre’s corner.

The mayors’s argument is that Energy East’s widely documented potential risks, which include catastrophic oil spills, far outweigh the pipeline’s possible economic benefits for their communities.

“We are against it because it still represents significant environmental threats and too few economic benefits for greater Montreal,” said Coderre, who is also the President of the Montreal Metropolitan Community, according to the CBC News.

The MMC held public consultations on the proposed pipeline last fall and received a total of 143 written submissions, 66 oral submissions, and 3846 responses to an online survey. The East Energy project failed to get a passing grade on the economic, social, environmental and public safety fronts.

Energy East is a key plank in the planned expansion of the Alberta tar sands. If built, the 4,400 pipeline would become North America’s largest oil pipeline, transporting 1.1 million barrels of crude per day from Alberta to Canada’s East Coast. The pipeline would impact more than 75 communities in Alberta, Sakatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec. According to environmental experts, Energy East would increase the risk of oil spills and “run away climate change”.

As Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges has pointed out, Energy East would allow oil profiteers to continue to “dig up the Alberta tar sands in an orgy of environmental degradation.” Opponents of Energy east have also argued that the pipeline is incompatible with Canada’s support for a 1.5 degree limit on global warming, affirmed by the Trudeau government during the recent Paris climate summit.

The Council of Canadians welcomes the Quebec mayors’ opposition, which “represents a critical juncture along the path of the controversial project.”

“This export pipeline offers few benefits to communities along route, yet threatens over 1000 waterways with a large scale diluted bitumen spill,” said Maude Barlow, the national chairperson of the Council of Canadians.

“We are seeing opposition to this massive pipeline grow, from Quebec municipalities to Indigenous communities and landowners at the end of the line in Red Head, Saint John. It is time to see leadership from Prime Minister Trudeau and Premiers that will lead us away from new large scale fossil fuel infrastructure to investing in climate solutions such as public transit and renewables, energy conservation and efficiency.”

RELATED: New student coalition vows to block tar sands pipelines at Quebec border

In later 2014, a new student coalition promised to block Energy East and Enbridge’s line 9B tar sands pipeline projects right “at Quebec border.” The Étudiant-e-s Contre les Oléoducs (ECO) said its mandate was to “promote science-based policy alternatives, as well as respect for the ecological limits of our planet and for Indigenous rights and Aboriginal title.”

The Montreal Metropolitan Community plans to take its anti-Energy East position to the National Energy Board’s forthcoming hearings on the pipeline.

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Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based progressive blogger, and the founder and editor of The Canadian Progressive. Follow me on

Twitter: @Obiemad

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