For Immediate Release: June 5, 2017

Drift card study launches on World Environment Day to determine locations on the Rideau, Bonnechere, and Ottawa Rivers that are at risk from the Energy East pipeline

Ottawa, ON – How far could oil travel if it leaked from the proposed Energy East pipeline? To help answer this question, Environmental Defence is working with Ecology Ottawa and other local partners to map where oil from the Energy East pipeline would end up in the event of an oil spill in the Ottawa River watershed.

“The risks from the Energy East pipeline that our rivers and our drinking water face is something that local residents need to know,” said Dale Marshall from Environmental Defence. “And yet TransCanada, the company proposing the project, has no idea and doesn’t intend to find out.”

The proposed Energy East pipeline from Alberta to New Brunswick will cross nearly 3,000 lakes, rivers, streams, and aquifers, including the Rideau River and the Bonnechere River, both of which empty into the Ottawa River. Today, to model the effect of a potential pipeline oil spill, 200 small wooden drift cards will be deposited in each river near the site of the pipeline crossing. These drift cards have identification numbers and instructions so that when people find them, they can go to a website to enter their location as well as see the locations where other cards were found.

“The Rideau and Bonnechere Rivers are part of the Ottawa River watershed, where over a million people get their drinking water and where countless species live – including several endangered species,” said Robb Barnes from Ecology Ottawa. “We want to protect the river system for its many inhabitants and for sustainable activities such as tourism and boating, rather than allow a pipeline to put it all at risk.”

Data from the project will be used to produce a report on the likely spill trajectory: how far and how quickly an oil spill will spread, and the locations where oil may accumulate. The local project is part of a larger one that includes similar drops of wooden drift cards in Quebec, New Brunswick, and northwestern Ontario near the Manitoba border.

About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.

About ECOLOGY OTTAWA (www.ecologyottawa.ca): Ecology Ottawa is a not-for-profit, grassroots and volunteer-driven organization working to make Ottawa the green capital of Canada. We provide area residents with the information and tools they need to understand local environmental issues and promote environmental leadership.


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Allen Braude, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext 247; 416-356-2587 (cell) abraude@environmentaldefence.ca