WIN! TransCanada to abandon Energy East pipeline port in Cacouna

Brent Patterson
Mercredi 11 February 2015 - 18:19
Conceptual layout of the proposed Cacouna Energy East Marine Terminal by TransCanada Corp.
Conceptual layout of the proposed Cacouna Energy East Marine Terminal by TransCanada Corp.

Public pressure appears to have forced TransCanada to abandon its plans for an Energy East pipeline marine terminal at Cacouna, Quebec.

La Presse reports (in French), "After months of controversy, TransCanada will abandon its oil port project in Cacouna. ...In Quebec, several sources within the government indicate that the case has been heard and that the announcement is only a formality. This comes after a committee of experts concluded that belugas were an endangered species of extinction." The port would have been built in a habitat critical for beluga whales in the St. Lawrence River.

It is expected that the formal announcement will be made before March 31.

Unfortunately, Calgary-based TransCanada may be considering other locations on the St. Lawrence River for their export terminal to fill 175 supertankers a year with bitumen from their 1.1 million barrels per day export pipeline. The article adds, "Already, the alternatives considered by the company were forwarded to the Couillard government: Lévis, Baie-des-Sables, near Matane, Bécancour or just New Brunswick."

Lévis
In April 2013, TransCanada considered building a port in Lévis, but "the proposal received a lukewarm reception from the authorities. The city council passed a resolution to oppose the project." La Presse reports, "According to our information, TransCanada has again tested the waters with the City of Lévis. Its Quebec management met there two weeks ago with fifteen elected members and an equal number of officials. The meeting did not go well. Mayor Gilles Lehouillier had to insist repeatedly that [TransCanada's] Quebec director Philippe Cannon and his assistants produce a map to illustrate the proposed route. And even after he complied, the city was warned that the route was not final. Mayor Lehouillier [has said he would refuse] to authorize the construction of an oil port that would require a change to the zoning of the city."

Bécancour
The newspaper notes that TransCanada has also considered an existing port in this community that is administered by a Crown corporation and is currently under-used.

Baie-des-Sables
La Presse also notes, "The Baie-des-Sables site is one of eight sites reviewed by TransCanada for the port, according to National Energy Board documents. If the company were to choose this site, it would have to build a much longer pipeline."

The Council of Canadians congratulates its Quebec allies for their work in stopping the oil terminal.

We also share with them opposition to possible Energy East pipeline ports in Lévis, Bécancour or Baie-des-Sables. Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow has stated, "To protect the St. Lawrence River we must ban all transport of tar sands bitumen on or near the St. Lawrence River."

To contribute to the broader efforts to stop the port in Cacouna, we outlined the issues of concern in numerous campaign blogs, encouraged people to sign an online Nature Quebec petition calling on the Quebec government to stop TransCanada's work on the terminal, encouraged our supporters to call their MP to back a House of Commons motion against the supertanker loading platform, produced a report that points to the threat posed to the St. Lawrence River and other waterways by the Energy East pipeline, and has stated that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's tar sands export agenda threatens whales in Quebec, the Bay of Fundy and on the West Coast.

Further reading
Energy East pipeline threatens beluga whales in the St. Lawrence (December 2013 blog)
An Energy East export port on the St. Lawrence River? (March 2014 blog)
Thousands march against Energy East pipeline in Quebec (October 2014 blog)
Liberals and Conservatives support Energy East oil terminal on the St. Lawrence River (October 2014 blog)
Cacouna, Quebec likely to hold referendum on Energy East pipeline (November 2014 blog)
St. Lawrence mayors oppose Energy East plan for 175 tar sands tankers a year on their river (November 2014 blog)