Tuesday, August 9, 2016

August 9: The National Energy Board as a mole.

We'll start with items I received in my gmail, items you are most unlikely to find in the irving press.

Press Release - Risk of Energy East to Water and Atlantic Coast Too Great Groups Tell NEB on First Day of Hearings in Saint John

Risk of Energy East to Water and Atlantic Coast Too Great Groups Tell NEB on First Day of Hearings in Saint John
A bitumen spill would bring widespread, devastating economic and environmental impacts to region

August 8th, 2016

Saint John, NB - As oil from the Husky Energy pipeline spill continues to wreak havoc on the water supply of over 70,000 people in Saskatchewan, groups representing indigenous people, fishers, environmentalists, social justice advocates, and local residents in Saint John gathered this morning at the opening of the National Energy Board (NEB) panel sessions for the Energy East pipeline and tanker project with one unified message — the risk to water and the Atlantic Coast are too great and Energy East must be rejected.

“Our values are connected spiritually to the land, water and air and we follow the original instructions from the Great Mystery to protect and preserve our homeland,” said Ron Tremblay, Grand Chief of the Wolastoqewi Kci-putuwosuwinuwok or Maliseet Grand Council. “For this reason, we oppose the Energy East Pipeline in order to protect our non-ceded homeland and waterways, our traditional and cultural connection to our lands, waterways, and air.”

Across Canada opposition is mounting to the Energy East pipeline. Two months ago, the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador also expressed opposition to Energy East. More than half the population of Quebec and 300 of its municipalities are opposed, including Montreal. Last week, the MRC of Vaudreuil-Soulanges refused to give TransCanada a permit to run tests it needed to find the best way for the pipeline to cross the Ottawa River saying that the risk to the water is too great following the Saskatchewan spill.

“We’re hearing real concerns from our communities and fishers about this pipeline and the high risk of a catastrophic spill. We have come to know the ins and outs of the Bay of Fundy for many generations,” explained Colin Sproul, spokesperson for the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen's Association. “The bottom line is we have not been consulted during TransCanada’s assessments even though we know these waters better than they do and will be among the first impacted.”

He added the new tar sands supertankers would carry over 330 million barrels per year through their fishing grounds in the Bay of Fundy.

While TransCanada said last week that oil spills are rare, the facts prove otherwise. Catastrophic pipeline failures, spills and the inability of pipeline companies to prevent, predict or contain spills across Canada are regular occurrences.

“Alberta has had over 37,000 oil spills in 37 years, which amounts to 2 oil spills every single day, while Saskatchewan has had around 18,000 spills since 1990,” said Lynaya Astephen of the Red Head - Anthony’s Cove Preservation Association. “Pipeline spills are common not rare and for us residents who live adjacent to the proposed end terminal it is a risk we are not prepared to take.”

“It is shocking we are even considering a new pipeline in the context of  our commitment as a nation to tackle climate change,” said Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Program Director of the Sierra Club Foundation of Canada. “The tanker traffic associated with this proposal will threaten the critically endangered right whale, the Bay of Fundy ecosystem, and other aquatic species that live in rivers and streams in its 4500 km long path .”

“This is an export pipeline, and I think that folks don’t always realize that. These supertankers pose great risk to fishers, tourism and coastal communities here in the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic Coast of the US”, said Stephen Thomas, Energy Campaign Coordinator with the Ecology Action Centre.

“There is a strong appetite across Canada for more climate jobs, jobs that will help fight climate change and build a future where we aren’t dependant on fossil fuels,” explains Daniel Cayley-Daoust, Energy and Climate Campaigner for the Council of Canadians. “The truth is that the Energy East pipeline will only provide 105 direct long term jobs in New Brunswick, will deepen New Brunswick’s and Canada’s addiction to oil, and put thousands of jobs at risk. That doesn’t sound like good economic foresight to me.”


For more information please contact:

Ron Tremblay, Grand Chief of the Wolastoq Grand Council - 506-455-1577
Lynaya Astephen, Red Head - Anthony’s Cove Preservation Association - 506-653-7959
Daniel Cayley-Daoust, Council of Canadians - 819-593-4579, ddaoust@canadians.org
Gretchen Fitzgerald, Sierra Club Foundation of Canada - 902-444-7096
Colin Sproul, Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen's Association - 902-247-5458
Stephen Thomas, Ecology Action Centre - stephen@ecologyaction.ca, 902-441-7136
gust 8, 2015
For immediate release

Environmental Health Expert: Critical questions remain unanswered as capacity of tank farm and terminal doubles in Red Head, Saint John

Saint John, NB – TransCanada’s human health risk assessment falls short in many crucial areas, says an independent expert with over 20 years experience in health and environmental risk assessment. This warning raises new concerns about TransCanada’s announcement that it plans to double the capacity of the Red Head tank farm and terminal following the cancellation of the Cacouna terminal in Quebec.

“As the National Energy Board (NEB) panel sessions open up in Saint John, New Brunswick, many questions and concerns remain unanswered,” says report author Dr. Ken Froese. “Since my last report in December, TransCanada’s updated assessments still have important gaps and shortcomings that need to be addressed.”

Dr. Ken Froese is in Saint John to present findings to residents and city staff, and is available for interviews on Monday, August 8 and Tuesday, August 9 until 4:00 p.m.

“TransCanada still has not assessed impacts in case of catastrophic events at the tank farm, has not developed remediation plans in case problems arise with odours in the neighbouring community, nor has it assessed associated health impacts such as stress or economic disruptions,” says Dr. Froese.

On Monday evening, Dr. Froese will be meeting with local residents to present his findings and discuss potential impacts an Energy East pipeline spill could have on their lives.

“In light of the recent oil spill in the North Saskatchewan River that continues to deprive over 70,000 people of drinking water, it is highly irresponsible of TransCanada to not properly assess and prepare for catastrophic incidents at the tank farm and marine terminal,” says Daniel Cayley-Daoust, Energy and Climate Campaigner with the Council of Canadians.

Irving Oil, which has jointly invested with TransCanada in the tank farm project, made headlines again in June for excessive amounts of potentially carcinogenic and toxic catalyst ash released in the community near its refinery between 2010 and 2015 with no proper contingencies or monitoring in place by either the company or the government.

Dr. Froese was commissioned by the Council of Canadians to provide a credible examination of TransCanada’s assessment of the human health impacts of the proposed Energy East project in Red Head, Saint John. He has worked with industry, government, First Nations and non-governmental organizations, providing senior project direction and management, writing technical reports, appearing as an expert witness, providing courtroom testimony and serving on international peer review panels.


For more information or to arrange interviews with Ken Froese, please contact:
Daniel Cayley-Daoust, Energy and Climate Campaigner, The Council of Canadians
ddaoust@canadians.org, Cell: (819) 593-4579

Questions raised in Environmental Health in Red Head: The Energy East Project:
·         - An addendum to Volume 6 (Accidents and Malfunctions) of the Application was referred to in the Health section. Has TC completed such an assessment?  What is the scope of that assessment?  Does it include reasonable worst-case scenarios for the Saint John oil storage tanks and marine terminal?

·       - Why was the Alberta guideline for benzene used rather than the more stringent Ontario guideline? This question remains outstanding, as a discussion was not found in the updated documents regarding this issue.

·       Currently, a monitoring program related to human health concerns is considered unnecessary because the effects assessment concludes there will be no risks of health effects. The company should discuss their anticipated response to future community or individual concerns.  As a starting point, CASA’s guide11 offers various tools for tracking odour character and health symptoms, prevention and mitigation, and on-going odour assessment tools.

His updated report, Environmental Health in Red Head: The Energy East Project, can be found online: http://canadians.org/gatepost-update

Elizabeth Berman
Director of Communications / Directrice des communications
The Council of Canadians / Le Conseil des Canadiens
300-251 rue Bank St, Ottawa, ON K2P 1X3
(613) 233-2773 ext.223 / 1-800-387-7177
Now let's look at the irving sleeping pill.

The first meeting of the National Energy Board concerning the Energy East Pipeline made the front page headline of the the paper. And the first witness it reported on  - and at length - was TransCanada's Vice President of oil pipelines.
 He got three paragraphs.

Why is this important to know?

Any newspaper editor knows that large numbers of readers will read only the opening part of any news story. Placing opposition statements well down in the story is as good as not reporting them at all.

The fix is in.

There's really nothing else in section A.

Norbert has an excellent column on bilingualism. All of the commentary  columns are worth a read. Just one thing troubles me.   I always like Louise Gilbert's column, Seniority rules. But it isn't a commentary column. It's an advice column. It belongs with other advice columns in section B.

I'm not being picky here. Commentary is, or should be, the part of the newspaper that gives us insight about events, that encourages us to think about their meaning. But, usually, the commentary page has only one column worth reading at all. sometimes none. We need informed commentary,  not just on local affairs but on national affairs and on world affairs that, whether we like it or not, are crashing in on us. The Irving press is one of the weakest I have ever seen on this.

For the third, straight time, the great issue facing Canada and the world has been arguing at the convention of the provincial Conservative party. Gee, talk about shoving our noses into our own bellybuttons....

In a skimply, four pages of Canada and the whole world, there's also a big story  that an ex-cabinet minister of no distinction is thinking of running for leader of the Conservative party. Who could possibly care?

We don't hit foreign news until the last page. There, we get just three stories. No. Not the American bombing of Libya. Not the enforced starvation and murder in Yemen. Not the crucial fighting in Syria. Not the meaning of the U.S. closing of a nuclear ring around Russia and China. Not the role of Canadians in doing this. Not the poverty and chaos in South America - not even when it's made worse by the Olympics. Not the wars and confusions all over Africa. Not the work of the international banks in impoverishing countries like Ukraine and Greece and Spain and Ireland. Not the real story behind the South China Sea confrontation. And, of course, there's nothing about the rise of poverty in the U.S. Or today's news that American police have killed 647 people so far this year - solidifying their position as the most murderous police in the world. (The U.S. also leads the world in prison population.)

No, the biggest story is that a model in Pakistan was murdered by her brother.
It's not just New Brunswick that opposes fracking.

The irving press missed this, though it could be a turning point in history.

I copied this one because it's important to understanding the world since 1945.
Britain survived World War Two. But the British Empire that had ruled one-fifth of the world was dead. It had been replaced by the empire of a former British colony, the U.S. Even worse, Britain  (and many of its old colonies like Canada and Australia) had become colonies of the U.S. So now, as Britain and its colonies once fought wars for Britain (like the Boer War), they now fight wars for the U.S. That's why Canadians bombed Libya, warred in Afghanistan, and now are assigned to Syria and Latvia. And that's why the British, who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan and helped in Yemen, are now fighting in Syria. God Bless America.

I really don't give much of a damn about the Olympics. The modern games are, and always have been, about snobbery, money, and a crude sort of nationalism. The original games, in ancient Greece, were a worship of the gods, a celebration of life and humanity. They also recognized that humans have brains. So they offered up to the gods their poetry, plays, dance, singing....

The modern games are about money, big money. Money for the wealthy members of the Olympic committee, money  for contractors and others in the chosen city. Nothing could show this better than videos of the Rio stadium with its background of slums and the millions of poor who can only see the stadium at a distance and from outside.

And, most of all the modern games are about nationalism,nationalism of the most inhuman sort. The olympics don't unite us. They divide us. They encourage hatreds.  The picture in the site below illustrates this well.

Worshipping the gods is quite incompatible with nationalism.

Below is the best analysis of the American election and the American position in the world that I have seen. It could have been titled, "The Last Days of Modern Rome".

Let's get real. The U.S. is not fighting the Islamic fundamentalist threat in Syria. It created it. Its existence is essential to American strategy in the middle east.
The U.S. enemy is Syria and the government led by Sadat. And it's not the enemy because it's brutal and dictatorial. Sadat could take lessons in those from U.S. buddies like Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The reason is that Sadat wants Syria to control its own oil - and to sell it wherever it can get the best price. But U.S. oil companies insist on having a monopoly. It's as simple as that. The greed of oil billionaires is why at least 25 million people are refugees, and the dead are uncouned and uncountable.

But direct intervention ( as in Iraq) has proved mistaken in a middle east that is fed up with western Imperialism. That's why Saudi Arabia and the U.S. (with help from others) have armed and supplied and hired mercenaries to fight Sadat. They call them 'rebels'. But they're really killers for rent. That's why it has done the same with Jihadists. The U.S. doesn't want to defeat them. It wants them to kill Sadat. That's why Russian intervention on the side of Sadat has tossed a wrench into U.S. plans. If the terrorists get defeated, the big losers will be U.S. oil billionaires.

That may also be why the U.S. is suddenly all aflutter about Russia supposedly planning to invade Eastern Europe. (I notice we still have seen no evidence for that claim.)

Again, there's more comment. But no more time.
Don't worry about who will win the American election. It doesn't matter.


  1. An excellent read. Canada is now fighting the US wars. I just never thought of Canada as being a colony of the US. I thought of our governments that have gone along with American Imperialism in defining Canada's foreign policy as being corrupt and weak. These same governments including the present one are Neoliberals who support the US Neoliberal agenda domestically and globally. What is it that makes Canada a colony of the US rather then just a weak kneed follower?

  2. Well, when you put it that way, it is hard to see the difference. I guess its safer to say weak-kneed - because colonialism would require a formal status.