Nature Canada to make first submissions to NEB Energy East review Panel
Nature Canada will be the first Intervenor in the country to address the National Energy Board (NEB) Panel reviewing TransCanada’s application to build the Energy East Pipeline. In preparation for the NEB Panel Sessions in Saint John, New Brunswick (NB) starting Monday August 8th, I have travelled to the Bay of Fundy.
First thing Monday morning, Nature Canada will lead the way in making submissions to the NEB in order to ensure that proponents’ evidence is rigorously tested and the Panel is provided with the facts about the risks the pipeline poses to nature.
Immediately after arriving in Saint John, it was clear that the city is unique. New Brunswick is a province dominated by impressive landscapes. Driving south on Highway 1 there is a seemingly endless expanse of mountainous forests and meandering rivers. Dotted along the highway are small communities of some of the kindest people you will ever encounter.
Arriving in Saint John, the landscape takes a significant change. The city stretches out around a massive port and is joined across the Saint John River by a network of highways and bridges. Mills, shops and urban sprawl break the natural landscape almost instantly on the drive down Highway 1. The expanse of nature pauses in Saint John for the small town and its city of industry.
This morning, I had an early meeting at the Irving Nature Park to walk through the Saint’s Rest Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA). Nature Canada is working with Nature NB to coordinate our submissions to the NEB Energy East Panel, and we invited some journalists to take a walk through the IBA and discuss the Energy East Pipeline. The low tide at Irving Nature Park exposed a 28 foot cliff-face, mostly still covered in seaweed, and an enormous sandy beach. Salt Marshes surrounded a boardwalk and a thick fog cloaked all but the shoreline of island IBAs stretching into the Bay of Fundy. An oil spill from a super tanker on the shipping route a few kilometres from Saint’s Rest could decimate the salt marshes, wide sandy beaches and coastal forests all along the Fundy coast. The impact on migratory birds, fish, and marine mammals would be devastating.
Dozens of vehicles were parked at the various parking spots near Saint’s Rest, with many friendly East Coasters waving and smiling good morning as they started on their bike rides, hikes, or dog walking. There can be no debate that New Brunswick is Irving country, but there can also be no doubt that this country loves its nature. Balancing the benefits and risks of Energy East will not be an easy task for the NEB in Saint John.