The End of Energy East
by acarbis on October 8, 2017 - 11:10pm
TransCanada recently announced it would be cancelling their plans to extend a pipeline system that would have brought oil from Alberta and Saskatchewan to processing and exporting facilities in Quebec and New Brunswick (Evans, 2017). In the news article titled “Mixed Reaction in Northwestern Ontario over Energy East Cancellation”, published by CBC, the positive and negative implications of the cancelled pipeline were examined.
The article mentions a number of public sector actors that supported the development of the Energy East pipeline. The Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association predicts that oil use will continue weather the pipeline is built or not (Prokopchuk, 2017). They argue that there will be increased public risk due to the cancellation of the pipeline as oil will now be transported by high-speed trains instead (Prokopchuk, 2017). The Thunder Bay city council expressed similar safety concerns with oil being transported by train (Prokopchuk, 2017). The mayor of Greenstone also expressed his disappointment as he believed the pipeline would have provided a number of construction jobs and increased the tax revenue for his town (Prokopchuk, 2017).
In contrast, an environmental group, Citizens United for a Sustainable Planet, celebrated the cancellation of Energy East (Prokopchuk, 2017). The group argues that infrastructure expansions lead to increased extraction and thus, increased carbon emissions (Prokopchuk, 2017). They believed the expansion would not only impact local environments, but would also have a negative impact on global climate change. They suggest that focus should be shifted to renewable energy sources and the possibilities of job creation within that industry (Prokopchuk, 2017).
The article represents the cancellation of the pipeline as a loss to the state. It is represented as a missed opportunity for tax revenue for local governments and a loss of jobs and increased risk to local communities. The article fails to represent minority communities such as the first nations communities that would have been affect by the pipeline expansion (Evans, 2017). The article also fails to really acknowledge the opportunities that may come from a cancelled pipeline as they’ve only referenced one actor against the pipeline. The cancellation likely means increased extraction will be less likely. A dependence on a non-renewable resource that increases carbon emissions does not fit with today’s growing concern of climate change. The current dangers of oil transportation are increasingly concerning for community safety (Prokopchuk, 2017). These safety and environmental concerns should be met with a desire to shift away from non-renewable resource use and towards safer, renewable energy sources.
Prokopchuk, M. (2017). Mixed reaction in northwestern Ontario over Energy East cancellation. CBC News. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/northwestern-ontario-energy-east-1.4342482
Evans, P. (2017) TransCanada pulls plug on Energy East pipeline. CBC News. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/transcanada-energy-east-1.4338227