By Roger Annis, Dec 3, 2014
Yesterday, Trans Canada Pipelines announced it will stop work on construction of an oil shipping terminal on the Lower St. Lawrence River at Cacouna, Quebec, downriver from Quebec City near Rivière du loup. The immediate reason is that the project will threaten the beluga whale population in the river. An additional, though unreported, reason is that a broad, citizens’ movement in Quebec is fiercely opposed to the project.
The Cacouna terminal is said to be destined to serve the proposed Energy East tar sands pipeline. But that pipeline has not been approved, still less is there a date for the begining of construction. So why was the company already building an oil terminal on the St. Lawrence River? Why, the terminal would just happen to lie adjacent to the CN Rail mainline that is presently carrying Bakken oil from North Dakota, if not tar sands bitumen from Alberta, down the St. Lawrence River Valley and into Saint John, New Brunswick, where the Irving family empire refinery is located (Canada’s largest oil refinery).
Media reports are ignoring this oil by rail dimension of this story, but the decision to stop construction is nonetheless also a victory against expanding oil train movements in North America.
Another oil shipping terminal being fed by rail is up and running on the St. Lawrence River as of this past summer, upstream from Cacouna, in the Montreal region. It’s the Kildare company terminal at Sorel/Tracy, Quebec. There, too, there have been significant protests seeking to shut it down.
Of note in the news coverage of Trans Canada’s decision is that CBC’s reporter in Quebec City from 2003-13, Tim Duboyce, is now the media spokesperson for Trans Canada Pipelines. Sweet. Trans Canada was recently exposed for hiring a U.S. public relations firm that would create fake public interest organizations and then use them to discredit the environmental movement for its opposition to the tar sands industry.