Photo: Energy East pipeline is bad for Quebec and Canada

The Energy East pipeline will threaten the St. Lawrence River with no real benefits for Quebec. (Credit: Jérome Spaggiari)

While the eyes of the world turn to Paris for the upcoming 21st Conference of the Parties to establish a new international climate agreement, oil transportation projects continue to increase in Quebec and Canada. TransCanada's Energy East project is one of the largest ever proposed in North America. With a planned transport capacity of 1.1 million barrels per day, this project could have significant environmental and social impacts, including on watercourses and climate.

Because the pipeline will go through the Montreal Metropolitan Community, the David Suzuki Foundation's Quebec office submitted a brief to the MMC highlighting the environmental risks and 6 impacts and offering recommendations. The Foundation said the project puts the region's rivers at risk, including the St. Lawrence — drinking water source for much of the region's population — and offers few or no economic benefits for the region or Quebec. The project would also be associated with 32 million tonnes of new greenhouse gas emissions in the oil sands, equivalent to twice the emissions reductions Quebec will have achieved from 1990 to 2020.

We argued that the project is not only incompatible with Quebec's goal to reduce its emissions, but also that the environmental risks for the Montreal region are higher than the potential benefits for the MMC's 82 municipalities.