As attention on Energy East now focuses on New Brunswick and the Bay of Fundy, the residents of Red Head are well into their second month of planning for the large “End of the Line March” on Saturday, May 30th @ 1:00pm.
Why is the line in the sand being drawn at Red Head? The numbers speak for themselves:
- a 42-inch diameter export pipeline built over 280 proposed waterway crossings in New Brunswick (see this interactive map);
- a 150-hectare tank farm capable of housing 7.6 million barrels of oil and heated bitumen will be situated right in the middle of the rural community of Red Head;
- a 183-hectare marine terminal complex at Red Head;
- supertankers carrying 2.2 million barrels of oil crossing over the Bay of Fundy; and
- pipeline leaks as large as 2.6 million litres per day for up to 2 weeks could go undetected.
The threat of spills into waterways and the Bay of Fundy, and certain toxic air pollution for Red Head, is unacceptable.
On May 30th, this is what we will be marching for:
- the 1500 residents of Red Head, just east of Saint John, who live along the shores and gentle hills overlooking the Bay of Fundy;
- the longest river in northeastern North America, the Saint John River, which empties into the Bay of Fundy at Saint John, New Brunswick. The pipeline route courses through the length of the Saint John River Basin, a basin which supports a population of over 500,000 people, including a large continuous aquifer under the river which supply their towns and cities with drinking water;
- the Saint John River Basin are the traditional lands of the Wolastoqiyik, which translates to mean ‘the people of the beautiful bountiful river’, and is the present location of 6 Wolastoq (Maliseet) First Nations;
- the Saint John River Basin in New Brunswick is territory where aboriginal land title and rights have never been ceded or surrendered by the Wolastoqey Nation. Instead, both New Brunswick and Indigenous people are bound by pre-Confederation treaties called the Peace and Friendship treaties;
- several major tributaries of the Saint John River would be crossed by the Energy East pipeline, including the Madawaska, the Green River (Rivière-Verte), the Tobique, the Salmon, the Canaan, and Kennebecasis rivers;
- several small tributaries of the South West Miramichi River and Nashwaak River would be crossed by the Energy East pipeline;
- a maze of bays, fiords, lakes, and marshlands connected to the Saint John River forms the largest fresh water ecosystem in Atlantic Canada, which includes the Grand Lake Meadows, Grand Lake, Washademoak Lake, Belleisle Bay, and Kennebecasis Bay;
- the greatest diversity of freshwater fish in Atlantic Canada which is found in the Saint John River, downstream of the Mactaquac Dam;
- the Bay of Fundy’s unique funnel shape and great depth, which combines to create the highest tides in the world (rising 15 metres /50 feet twice a day) and extensive salt marshes and mudflats, supports a rich biodiversity that rivals the Great Barrier Reef and the Amazon rainforest; (learn more about the attractions of the Bay of Fundy)
- the rich zooplankton, krill and fish in the Bay of Fundy which attracts a dozen whale species, including each summer, 2/3’s of the 350-400 remaining population of North Atlantic Right Whales, one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world;
- the Bay of Fundy receives a large number of species of waterfowl, shorebirds and seabirds, the highest bird species richness in the Canadian Atlantic. These include iconic birds such as the Atlantic Puffin, Razorbill Auk, and Semipalmated Sandpiper;
- the salt marshes, and vast stretches of mudflats of the Bay of Fundy exposed twice a day during low tide, are a critical feeding stopover area along the eastern seaboard of North America for 34 species of fall migrating birds on their way to Central and South America, including hundreds of thousands of sandpipers and plovers, making it one of 6 Canadian sites in the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network;
- the salt marshes also serve as a nursery for fish, which supports the fisheries of the Outer Bay of Fundy;
- the Grand Manan Archipelago in the Bay of Fundy is located on a major eastern flyway for migratory birds, has 363 bird species documented, and is a top recommended birdwatching destination in North America;
- the Bay of Fundy supports several fisheries and attracts over 1 million tourists each year from around the world;
The New Brunswick and Indigenous communities of the Saint John River Basin, the rural community of Red Head, and the remarkable bird, fish and whale populations of the Bay of Fundy will be put at unacceptable risk by Energy East. New Brunswick, the Wolastoqey Nation, the Bay of Fundy, and Red Head are not for sale!
Water is our most precious resource, not bitumen from the tar sands. During the Red Head March, communities will carry large banners with the names of their local river or bay that they want protected.
The March will finish at the end of Anthony’s Cove Road on the beach of the Bay of Fundy. Citizens will form a human chain along the beach, building a “Line in the Sand” to highlight their resolve to stop this project and the expansion of the tar sands. Kid-friendly activities, a barbecue, and an evening bonfire on the beach will follow.
Join us on May 30th, and let’s show Canada and the world that Red Head is “the end of the line” for Energy East.
Facebook Event Page: March to the End of the Line.
Mark D’Arcy is with the Council of Canadians. This post was first published by the Council of Canadians.