A march will be held on Saturday, June 10th in Fredericton across the Nashwaak River, 1:00pm-1:45pm. Starting at 1:00pm, people will meet at the gravel parking area beside 955 Union Street (borders the Nashwaak River and is just below the overpass of the Walking Train Bridge), and then march across the trail bridge over the Nashwaak River.
This march is part of the ‘Hands Across The Water’ events held in June along the proposed tar sands Energy East pipeline route in New Brunswick. This event is organized by the Fredericton chapter of the Council of Canadians.
“New Brunswick and Indigenous communities have been left in the dark about the route and the risks of the Energy East tar sands pipeline project,” says Mark D’Arcy with the Council of Canadians – Fredericton chapter. “Since 2014, there have been no public meetings (except one in Edmundston over the pipeline risk to their drinking water), no Provincial Environmental Impact Assessment, no community notices along the pipeline route, and no readable maps.”
“Since 2015, both the City of Fredericton and the Council of Canadians – Fredericton chapter have asked TransCanada to hold a public meeting for Fredericton residents and conduct a spill modelling study of a tar sands bitumen pipeline spill into the Nashwaak River,” says Mark D’Arcy. “We are still waiting two years later.”
“There are three tributaries crossed by the pipeline at the head of the Nashwaak River,” says Jean Louis Deveau, Chair of the Council of Canadians – Fredericton chapter. “A spill into any one of these in the middle of the night could go undetected, spreading quickly down the entire stretch of the Nashwaak River to Fredericton. There is no current technology that allows the tar sands bitumen to be captured by booms, and fully cleaned up from the bottom sediment where it sticks aggressively, as documented in the catastrophic spills in the North Saskatchewan River in 2016 and the Kalamazoo River in 2010.”
“The risks and consequences of a tar sands bitumen spill are simply too great for our watersheds and our homes,” says D’Arcy. “More than 380 waterways in New Brunswick would be crossed by the Energy East pipeline. If you live close to a stream, river, or bay where a bitumen spill would spread (releasing life-threatening toxic gas requiring immediate evacuation), the installation of early-warning air sirens, a 1.6km Emergency Evacuation Zone for all residents, and lowered property resale values would become the new reality for your home, cottage, or farm.”
“Considering the size and risk of the project, the lack of readable maps available to public and communities along the proposed pipeline route in New Brunswick is a travesty to the National Energy Board’s stated mandate that the review process be “fair, transparent and respectful”, says D’Arcy. “Our communities deserve online maps that are understandable and easy to read. These maps are contrasted by the easy-to-read and understandable maps, as well as a zoomable map on their website, provided by Kinder Morgan for their Trans Mountain Project on the west coast.”
“And it is important to show our solidarity with the Wolastoqewiyik (Maliseet People), since the Energy East pipeline would cut across the entire length of their ancestral territory, a territory based on the watershed boundaries of the St. John River Basin,” says Deveau. “The Wolastoq Grand Council held a press conference in Fredericton on January 29, 2016 to announce they were opposed to the Energy East pipeline.”
“Right here at this location we are reminded of two recent events that give us grave concern about the ability of our province to regulate this pipeline properly and protect our waterways,” says Deveau. “First, Irving Oil, a partner with TransCanada in the Energy East project, was not ordered to clean up their property directly across Union Street after they removed their oil storage tanks in 2003. As reported by CBC New Brunswick, the Department of Environment and Local Government refused to discuss the soil contamination citing “it is protected under the Privacy Act.”
“Second, the failure to insist that the proposed Sisson Brook be developed as a dry mine, and to insist on large bonds up front for cleanup, compensation, and reclamation,” says Deveau. “The integrity of the Sission Brook tailings pond, located at the head waters of the Nashwaak River, has to be maintained forever; it is important to remember that the Mount Polley tailings pond was only 20 years old when it had the catastrophic failure. Instead of the proposed $50 million reclamation bond, the Province of New Brunswick should insist on a mine reclamation bond of at least $750 million which would cover the cost of dealing with the open pit mine and treating the tailings pond with a wastewater treatment plant.”
“It’s our future too”, says Tina Oh, a recent recipient of the Starfish ‘Canada’s Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25’. “Canada will be unable to meet our greenhouse gas climate targets for 2030 if we build these tar sands pipelines. Young people, your children, don’t want runaway climate change. We don’t want survival. We deserve more than that. We want our future to include a clean & just transition for workers and communities.”
Oh and friends from Mount Allison University have started a social media campaign to show support for these anti-Energy East events this month. They are asking people to post a photo of yourself or with friends with a sheet of paper(s) saying ‘the future I want includes’….” #HandsAcrossTheWater
“We prefer that we move into the direction of alternative energy – something that sustains life, not destroys it,” says Clanmother Alma Brooks. ” There’s a worldwide movement happening. Renewables are now cheaper than fossil fuels so there is no reason to delay.”
The final Hands Across The Water event is on Saturday, June 17th in Red Head (Saint John). Starting at1:00pm, the 2nd ‘March to the End of the Line’ starts at the intersection of Red Head Road and Hewitt Road, the parade takes ~ 30 minutes, and arrives at Anthony’s Cove Road for a picnic on the shore of the Bay of Fundy. This family event ends at 4:00pm. This event is organized by Red Head Anthony’s Cove Preservation Association.