Energy East – Our risk, their reward

Source: National Energy Board

Source: National Energy Board

The Energy East pipeline is being pushed onto the people of Manitoba in spite of growing concerns. The project will see millions of litres a day of diluted tar sands bitumen pushed through an aging pipeline, all the way to Canada’s east coast where 75% of it will then be shipped overseas. It will result in little economic activity for Manitoba, except in the negative situation of a spill when clean-up crews are brought in to hide the mess.

Recent spills have proven that dilbit – the diluted bitumen – is impossible to clean up, and authorities have accused the companies involved of maintaining a culture of negligence. There were 77 pipeline incidents in Manitoba from 2000 to 2012, and they are becoming more frequent. The ones most reported to the public involve explosions; many others go unnoticed.

Explosions occur because the diluent, which is used to make the sticky bitumen flow through the pipe, is highly volatile and under pressure. The diluent is shipped both ways, going to the tar sands by rail and back out through the pipeline. The railcars which recently exploded in Saskatchewan were carrying diluent. The Energy East pipeline, which will carry diluted bitumen, is located within meters of five other pipelines. The line carries 13 million litres of oil between shutoff stations, increasing the potential that a spill will be large. Residents of Brandon, Rapid City, Cromer, Glenboro, Brookdale, and Fort Whyte in Winnipeg will remember some of the recent bigger spills and pipeline explosions.

The Green Party of Manitoba says that the Energy East pipeline is an unnecessary burden. Manitobans carry all the risk while the profits go to absentee oil company shareholders. The Energy East pipeline will increase the availability and use of dirty oil worldwide just at the time when we need to reduce the use of fossil fuels and stop the greenhouse gases which are polluting and over-heating our atmosphere. It’s time to stop the growth of dirty energy.

We have energy options. Canada’s energy needs can be supplied safely and efficiently with an increase in clean wind and solar power, supported by an effective energy conservation campaign which will help every Manitobans reduce energy demand, protect our citizens and save money.