A picture is worth a thousand words.
That’s why I’m in beautiful St. Andrews, New Brunswick today. It’s the start of our project to capture images of the places being threatened by TransCanada’s risky Energy East pipeline proposal. I’m travelling with renowned photographer Garth Lenz, who works with the International League of Conservation Photographers. And, we’re here to photograph the landscapes and livelihoods that depend on a healthy Bay of Fundy ecosystem, which would be put at risk by Energy East.
The picturesque village of St. Andrews sits on the southern tip of New Brunswick’s coast, just across from Maine. The community relies on tourism and fishing as primary sources of jobs, and already there are concerns about threats to fish stocks in the region. Warmer water and changes to ocean currents as a result of climate change are putting pressure on the fishery here.
The peninsula St. Andrews is on juts out into Passamaquoddy Bay, an inlet of the Bay of Fundy. If Energy East is built, this entire southern end of the Bay would be at a much greater risk of a tar sands oil spill. It’s estimated that up to 1 million barrels of tar sands oil per day could be exported by tankers here if Energy East were to proceed – placing the health of the entire Bay of Fundy ecosystem in harm’s way.
When tar sands oil spills it is much more difficult to clean up than conventional oil. It’s also much more expensive. It’s awful to think how the pristine landscape I’m looking at today could one day be the sight of an oil spill.
And it’s not just the risk of an oil spill that’s a problem. A dramatic increase in traffic from massive tankers plying this coastline is completely out of step with the peaceful environment this community relies upon. Standing here in St. Andrews, surrounded by fishing boats and people walking by the water, it just feels wrong to put this community and the local economy at risk, just so oil companies can increase their profits.
For the next few days I’ll be travelling up the Bay of Fundy to explore the landscape, the livelihoods and the wildlife at risk from Energy East. Stay tuned in the coming weeks and months as we share the images snapped on the trip and the stories of the people we meet.
I hope you can follow along.