October 20th, 2014
As TransCanada Prepares to File Energy East Application, 90% of Ottawa City Council Candidates Prepared to Fight Project
OTTAWA – Nearly 90% of candidates for city council who responded to a survey put out by Ecology Ottawa say they would be prepared to fight the proposed Energy East pipeline if it posed a threat to the health of Ottawa’s environment, in addition to 80% who are calling for an independent environmental assessment. This survey comes as TransCanada prepares to file their application to build the controversial tar sands pipeline.
“The overwhelming majority of candidates are concerned about the risks and dangers of a tar sands pipeline going through our city and waterways,” noted Ben Powless, Ecology Ottawa Pipeline Campaigner. “We’ve already heard from many other communities along the pipeline route, from First Nations, and from thousands of Ottawa residents, who have said they’re opposed to this pipeline.”
Ecology Ottawa has sent out its Ottawa Elections 2014 survey to all candidates to find out where they stand on Ottawa’s most pressing environmental issues. Eighty-four candidates have responded thus far to the survey, representing approximately 70% of all candidates.
“It’s not completely surprising that candidates see the pipeline as a serious public safety concern. The pipeline threatens the Rideau River and the Ottawa River, the source of our drinking water, and is tied to the reckless expansion of the tar sands, which would worsen climate change impacts,” said Powless.
Another three-quarters of candidates surveyed believe the City of Ottawa should intervene in the National Energy Board’s federal review process on the pipeline project to ensure Ottawa’s interests are taken under consideration.
The Energy East pipeline project involves retrofitting a decades-old natural gas pipeline running through Ottawa near Stittsville to ship 1.1 million barrels of crude oil and tar sands bitumen every day. If completed, the pipeline would span some 4,600 kilometres from Alberta to tanker ports in Quebec and New Brunswick, making Energy East the largest proposed pipeline project in Canada.
“Even in the face of a federal lack of leadership, it’s encouraging to see so many elected officials ready to stand up for the health and safety of our communities and environment. We have an obligation to protect not just our rivers and watersheds from toxic oil spills, but to make sure we have a habitable climate into the future. We will be doing everything we can to ensure this pipeline is stopped,” said Powless.
The announcement comes as municipal leaders of other cities across Canada, including Vancouver, Burnaby, North Bay, and Montreal have all made statements opposing proposed oil pipelines through their communities.
A full report of candidates’ responses on the Energy East pipeline can be downloaded here.
The report is the fifth installment of Ecology Ottawa’s series of reports titled Your Decision, Your Vote - Towards a green and healthy Ottawa, Election 2014.