Let's say no to Energy East

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Ms.Campillo voices her objections to the stance taken by some members of the business community in La Presse Plus recently.

LET’S SAY NO TO ENERGY EAST

In an opinion piece which appeared in La Presse Plus on July 11th,2016, a collective states its support for the Energy East Pipeline project. The group consists of chambers of commerce, a union, and engineering and construction industry associations. Embarking on an ambitious project in order to create jobs is legitimate, but one must choose the right project.

The published text comprises general statements, hypothetical data, pious wishes and lies.

I agree with the authors on certain points, notably the fact that in 2003, 40% of our energy needs will (unfortunately) still come from fossil fuels. But for that very reason, the whole of Québec and Canada should work to reduce this dependence. The building of the Energy East pipeline goes in the opposite direction.

As multiple studies and reports have shown, notably those which were presented at the aborted BAPE hearings, the economic revenues from Energy East are illusory, while the environmental risks are enormous.

But the most important aspects – those for which I call on this collective to take responsibility – are that the Energy East project is incompatible with the battle against climate change, that the oil-based economy is destined for extinction in the middle term, and that it is high time to invest money and knowledge in energy transition. This energy transition can in no way be supported by the exploitation of non-conventional fossil fuels like those extracted from the tar sands and from shale.

Stop pretending that Energy East will allow us to  »buy local »: 90% of the oil it will transport (produced not only in Alberta, but also the United States) is destined for export, while the market prospects are not favourable for this expensive and polluting product. Yes we still need oil for a time, but businesses will always buy at the cheapest price.

In addition, the building of Energy East would favour, upstream, the increase in tar sands oil production, and, downstream, the consumption of oil, while scientists are calling for a reduction in oil supply.

You talk of sustainable development and social acceptability: a majority of the citizens of Québec are opposed to the oil pipeline and in favour of renewable energies.

You speak of reinforcing the expertise of the workers: it is up to you to prepare them for the economy of the future, instead of confining them to the ways of yesterday.

There lies your responsibility as leaders of industry and as citizens: instead of embarking with illusory promises of juicy short term contracts, be visionaries: the future is not in fossil fuels.

Denise Campillo
Roxton Falls
Membre du regroupement Vigilance Hydrocarbures Québec