If built, TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline would ship crude oil from Alberta to New Brunswick, carrying up to 1.1 million barrels per day through a 4,600 km pipeline — making it the largest pipeline ever proposed in Canada. Along the way, the pipeline would go near or through a number of major waterways in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario and pass directly through hundreds of communities, like Kenora, ON.

Based in Northwestern Ontario, Kenora’s regional economy depends on pristine natural wilderness and its residents rely on local water sources for drinking, bathing, and cooking.

We will be representing grassroots community group, Transition Initiative Kenora at the TransCanada Energy East pipeline hearings in the months ahead. The group’s main concerns about the Energy East pipeline proposal are the threat an oil spill poses to hundreds of communities and their drinking water sources, and to the sensitive marshes and wetlands along the pipeline’s route in northwestern Ontario (part of a $482 million regional tourism economy). TIK is also concerned the project locks-in more carbon-intensive oil and gas development for decades to come.

After learning that two members of the Energy East review panel met privately and discussed Energy East with interested stakeholders, including Jean Charest who was then a consultant for TransCanada, we filed a motion, on behalf of TIK, urging the NEB panel members involved in the closed-door meetings to recuse themselves from the Energy East review.

In early September 2016, all of the National Energy Board members presiding over the Energy East review recused themselves from their roles.

After the new panel members were officially appointed in January 2017, we filed a motion, on behalf of TIK, arguing that the current Energy East proceeding is void as an unavoidable legal consequence of the reasonable apprehension of bias raised by the former panel’s conduct.

Why is Ecojustice involved?

A leak of diluted bitumen or other crude oil products from TransCanada’s decades-old pipeline would be disastrous to any community that lies along the project’s path, including Kenora. A spill could pollute their drinking water, degrade their environment, and impact their livelihoods.

We also support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across Canada and believe that it is important to be involved in cases related to projects that will accelerate demand for tar sands development.

What would a win mean?

The National Energy Board (NEB) is charged with conducting the review process for TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline. Its job is to make a final and independent recommendation to the federal Cabinet on whether the pipeline should go ahead. A win in this case would see the NEB recommend that this project be axed.