On May 7th we got together with the Wilderness Committee and Manitoba Wildlands to demand answers from the Provincial Government and Manitoba Hydro concerning their public silence on Energy East. Manitoba Hydro's business plan was relying on pipeline expansion to fund new dam development. We wanted to know what Manitoba was basing its renewable energy off funding dirty fossil fuels. You can read more here in the Winnipeg Sun.
News Release - May 7, 2015
WINNIPEG - Environmental groups in Manitoba are raising questions about provincial energy costs and environmental risks associated with the proposed TransCanada Energy East tar sands pipeline, after an analysis of the project’s application revealed the size and extent of new pump stations and transmission lines needed across the province.
In the 30,000-page project application filed with the National Energy Board (NEB), the project plans state that Manitoba is expected to own the infrastructure needed to power the nine new pump stations proposed within the province. Manitobans – through the province’s public utility, Manitoba Hydro – would need to invest in transmission lines to allow use of public hydropower to move the dirtiest oil on the planet.
“People in this province need to hear about the tremendous investment this proposed pipeline needs from us in Manitoba,” said Eric Reder, Manitoba Campaign Director for the Wilderness Committee. “The large pumping stations needed to push bitumen across Manitoba will require 176 megawatts of power. This is roughly as much as the Wuskwatim dam generates.”
Although pipelines are authorized under federal jurisdiction, the Manitoba government must also approve this project by issuing construction permits. Despite significant impacts on Manitoba, the provincial government has so far been silent on the Energy East pipeline. While the governments of Ontario and Quebec have demanded the project receive a full environmental assessment that considers its impacts on climate change, the Manitoba government has yet to announce its position on the issue.
“Manitobans deserve to know where their government stands on this issue. Does the Manitoba government have an agreement with TransCanada Energy East already? Or does Manitoba Hydro already have an agreement to provide this energy? Will the Manitoba government follow the lead of other provinces and review the climate impacts? There are so many unanswered questions,” said Gaile Whelan-Enns, Director of Manitoba Wildlands.
A recent poll commissioned by Climate Action Network Canada showed that a strong majority of Manitobans are opposed to building new tar sands infrastructure, with 78 per cent of Manitoba residents agreeing that fighting climate change is more important than building pipelines or expanding tar sands extraction.
“In Manitoba, we have a Clean Energy Strategy that is based on creating a future without fossil fuels,” said Alex Paterson of the Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition. “It’s time to have a real, democratic conversation about the role our public utility wants to play in expanding fossil fuel infrastructure in Canada.”
The groups are asking for the Manitoba government to acknowledge the magnitude of this project, and how it affects Manitobans. This project should require a Manitoba Environment Act licence, which should be cumulative for all Energy East associated infrastructure. It is suggested that the Clean Environment Commission conduct open public hearings across Manitoba, with a strong emphasis on the climate impacts of this pipeline proposal.