Transitions Initiative Kenora, in collaboration with partners Environmental Defence Canada, Council of Canadians, and several other regional environmental organizations, released its report Energy East: A Risk to Our Drinking Water on Wednesday, April 6. “The (report) details how five million Canadians’ drinking water is put at risk from the proposed Energy East pipeline project,” stated Teika Newton, executive director of Transitions Initiative Kenora. The 34-page report is the

result of a detailed examination by the coalition of Energy East’s proposed route. It documents the nature and proximity of TransCanada’s Energy East proposal to major municipal and community drinking water supplies across Canada.

The coalition contends that given the amount of oil flowing through such a massive pipe, even a short duration spill has the potential to release large quantities of crude oil into the environment and cause substantial harm. The Energy East pipeline would also transport significant quantities of diluted tar sands bitumen.

The report refers to a U.S. National Academy of Sciences study released in December 2015, that concluded special response strategies and tactics are needed to respond and clean up diluted bitumen spills; however, it notes that these have not yet been developed in Canada or the U.S. “The pipeline industry, government agencies and first responders are simply not prepared to deal with these additional risks,” the report

states. “These safety concerns are compounded by Trans-Canada’s poor record on pipeline ruptures and spills.” The report notes that the natural gas pipeline proposed for conversion as part of the Energy East project suffered from 10 ruptures over the past 25 years. TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline, which also consists of a converted natural gas pipeline and newly constructed segments, leaked 71 times in its Canadian section in the first two years of operation, according to the coalition.