Press Release – Elizabeth May calls for new national energy policy, climate plan
FREDERICTON • Federal Green party Leader Elizabeth May says Canada needs a national energy policy and climate plan – one that would halt the $12-billion Energy East pipeline project before a single section of steel is anchored above the ground.
May was in New Brunswick on Monday, her fourth visit to the province in the space of about a year,promoting her national vision and local candidates who will run for the party in the federal election later this year.
She told reporters that TransCanada’s big pipeline project that would bring crude oil to Saint John was a dead end.
May said Canada is under a tight deadline for reducing greenhouse gases because it will be participating in an international climate conference in Paris later this year that will try to forge a new agreement to compel countries to halt and reverse the warming of the planet.
An agreement is supposed to be adopted in December 2015,with countries taking preventative measures by 2020.Most scientists say too many greenhouse gases caused by the burning of fossil fuels like oil are changing the world’s climate, something that could have catastrophic consequences.
TransCanada said May was missing the entire point of the pipeline project, which is to bring domestic energy to Eastern Canada rather than have the region rely on foreign markets for oil.
“More than 80 per cent of the oil being used at refineries in New Brunswick and Quebec right now is being imported from the United States, but also by ship from countries like Venezuela and Nigeria. And yet, Canada has the third-largest proven oil reserves in the world. But the infrastructure isn’t in place to get it to our eastern refineries.”
He said that of the Alberta oil that’s moving east, most is shipped by rail, which is far more dangerous than by pipeline.
“Pipelines are the safest, most reliable and cost-effective way of moving large quantities of oil over long distances,”he said.
All 49 members of New Brunswick’s legislative assembly except one – Coon – support the pipeline project that would transport 1.1 million barrels of crude daily more than 4,600 kilometres across six provinces to refineries and export terminals in Quebec and New Brunswick.
The governing Liberals and Opposition Tories both say the province needs the pipeline to create jobs and help Alberta and Saskatchewan get their crude to local and global markets.
May said they were wrong-headed because most of the jobs would be created in other countries, where most of the crude would end up being refined – something Canadians don’t want.
“The Energy East pipeline of course includes a lot of provinces in between Alberta and New Brunswick, and I think David’s opinion should hold sway because he’s right,”she said.
“That’s an important aspect of minority opinion, when it’s correct.”
Irving Oil Ltd. has signed an agreement on crude shipments that would see crude delivered to its Saint John refinery and a new export terminal at Canaport.
But the company did not immediately respond to May’s comments.
Duboyce said his company does not know what amount of the crude would go to the refineries and overseas because that’s a private contractual matter between shippers of the crude and the refineries.
“The pipeline is going to be moving 40 different kinds of oils from different sources,”he said.
“This whole idea that it’s going to be all heavy crude from the oilsands moving to an export terminal to go overseas is mythology. It’s not the purpose of the project.”
May argued a green economy, including a renewable energy sector, would create more jobs and offer more hope to New Brunswick, which for generations has suffered from unemployment hovering near double-digit figures.
As an example, she cited home, business and institutional retrofit programs that save energy, an idea also championed by Coon.
National Green party Leader Elizabeth May toured the library of the legislative assembly Monday morning before speaking at a press conference with New Brunswick Green party Leader David Coon, left.
Photo: John ChilibeCk/legislature bureau