The Energy East terminal project in the Bay of Fundy has not been approved, but that isn’t stopping TransCanada from moving ahead with disruptive borehole testing as early as today. Borehole drilling creates marine noise and can result in flaring, both of which are detrimental to whales and other wildlife in the surrounding land and waters.
“TransCanada is testing in the Bay of Fundy precisely when migratory birds and endangered right whales are at their peak in this area,” says Lynaya McKinley, a resident of Red Head, the small community near Saint John where the Energy East terminal would be located. “Not only has the project not been approved, but National Energy Board hearings haven’t even started. There must be community consultation before any work begins.”
The Red Head Anthony’s Cove Preservation Association, the New Brunswick Environmental Network, the Wolastoq First Nation, and four local Council of Canadians chapters are calling for an immediate halt to the testing.
“As a member of the Wolastoq Grand Council and Wolastoq Nation, I stand firm on the protection of our lands, water and air,” says Ron Tremblay, spokesperson for the Wolastoq Grand Council. “The area in which the proposed testing will take place is our traditional land and shoreline where our people fished, gathered and flourished from the vast supply of food and medicine. Additional damage to the area will further destroy the traditional territory of the Wolastoq People.”
The groups are demanding proper consultation with First Nations and residents, and a thorough environmental assessment before any preparatory work begins.
“Corporations shouldn’t be allowed to drill first and ask questions later,” says Mark D’Arcy, New Brunswick Energy East campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “Let’s not repeat the debacle at the Canaport LNG plant where 10,000 songbirds were killed by a gas flare. The National Energy Board must ensure that TransCanada does its due diligence.”
Risks to marine and shore life, especially the vulnerable beluga whale population, were at the centre of resistance to TransCanada’s earlier plans to build a terminal port in Cacouna, Quebec. It faced massive opposition from local communities and across the province and was eventually scrapped.
Borehole drilling creates marine noise and can result in flaring, both of which are detrimental to whales and other wildlife in the surrounding land and waters.
An ad hoc coalition of 22 New Brunswick and Nova Scotian community, First Nations, and environmental groups have sent a registered letter with their demands today to TransCanada, the National Energy Board, and all relevant municipal, provincial and federal representatives. The letter can be found here.