Canada: New win in tar sands pipeline fight


Trans Canada Pipelines announced on December 2 it would stop work on building an oilshipping terminal on the St Lawrence River at Cacouna, Quebec.

The immediate reason is that the project will threaten the beluga whale population in the river. Another, unreported, reason is that a broad citizens’ movement in Quebec fiercely opposes the project.

The Cacouna terminal is said to be destined to serve the proposed Energy East tar sands pipeline. The proposed pipeline would ship 1.1 million barrels of dirty tar sands oil a day through Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick for export.

But that pipeline has not been approved and there is no date for the start of construction. So why was the company already building an oil terminal on the St Lawrence River? Why, the answer may just be that the terminal would lie adjacent to the CN Rail mainline that is already carrying Bakken oil from North Dakota to Saint John, New Brunswick.

Media reports are ignoring this oil-by-rail angle to the story, but the decision to stop building is nonetheless also a victory against expanding oil-by-rail movements in North America.

Another oil shipping terminal being fed by rail is already up and running on the St Lawrence River, upstream from Cacouna in the Montreal region. This is the Kildare company terminal at Sorel/Tracy, Quebec. There have been significant protests seeking to shut it down.

Of note in terms of news coverage of these campaigns is that CBC’s reporter in Quebec City from 2003 until last year, Tim Duboyce, is now the media spokesperson for Trans Canada Pipelines.

Trans Canada was recently exposed for hiring a US public relations firm that would create fake public interest groups and then use them to discredit the environmental movement.

[Abridged from]

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