Ecojustice Blog – Climate change Posted on October 5, 2017 (updated: October 16, 2017)

Energy East pipeline is dead!

Devon PageLawyer
Energy east pipeline protest Photo 2 by Council of Canadians
Photo by Council of Canadians

Hot off the press: Energy East pipeline bites the dust. This is a big win for the climate. And you helped make it happen.

This has been a tough fight. Let’s rewind the clock in case you’ve forgotten some of the key moments:

  • In August 2016, the National Observer reported 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 knew this wasn’t right, and filed a motion for our client, grassroots group Transition Initiative Kenora, shortly after urging the compromised National Energy Board (NEB) panel members to recuse themselves from the Energy East review — and won!
  • The panel members stepped down but in their wake they left the process in disarray — their recusals meant the review was tainted by a reasonable apprehension of bias. We could not let that stand.
  • To ensure that the review process would be fair and impartial, we filed another motion once new panel members were appointed demanding that the NEB declare the dozens of decisions made by the former Energy East panel void — and we counted another victory under our belt.
  • With the reset button hit on Energy East’s review process, the new panel invited submissions on whether to consider Energy East’s potential to cause huge increases in upstream and downstream GHG emissions in its upcoming hearing on the project. We argued yes — of course — and the new panel agreed!

Needless to say, we’re pleased that our work led to a review process that would have — for the first time — considered a pipeline’s full climate change impacts. And while we were ready to prove how building a record-breaking export pipeline to facilitate decades more tar sands expansion in the era of climate change is a really, really bad idea, we’re honestly fine with TransCanada stealing our thunder.

This victory would not have been possible without you. By standing with us, you helped make sure we were able to counter bias at the NEB and challenge TransCanada at every turn. Thank you.

In the fight against climate change, this is a glimmer of hope. What the fall of the Energy East pipeline tells is us that these fossil fuel mega-projects are less economically viable and will only become a tougher sell as the world keeps moving toward low-carbon energy.

As we enter day four of the Kinder Morgan pipeline mega-hearing, this news gives us renewed hope that Energy East won’t be the last of Canada’s pipeline project proposals to meet its fated end.

Until then, stay tuned.

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