We can choose the food we eat. We can choose the water we drink. But we can’t choose the air we breathe.
The air we breathe is irreplaceable; an essential part of our lives, and at TransCanada, we know how important it is to keep it clean. To minimize any effects that the proposed Energy East Pipeline project may have on the surrounding environment, our trained and experienced teams have conducted a wide range of field studies on wildlife, vegetation, hydrology, and air.
We’ve long said that pipelines are the safest and most environmentally-friendly method of transporting oil over long distances. We stand by this position, not because it is an opinion but because it is a fact.
The Asthma Society of Canada recently published an op-ed, titled “Pipelines help us breathe easier”, in which it stated that pipeline and associated facilities contribute “minimal” greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and are “the cleanest form of transport” for products like oil.
“There is a great debate about pipelines and, while there are many factors that influence opinions, the positive impact pipelines can have on air quality cannot be overstated,” Stephen Eyre, chair of the board, and Dr. Susan Waserman, medical and scientific committee chair of the Asthma Society of Canada, wrote in an op-ed published in the Toronto Sun.
“This is one very important reason the Asthma Society advocates the transportation of oil across our country by pipeline, as opposed to high-emitting, diesel-powered trucks, trains and tankers.”
The Asthma Society outlines that, for every mile a barrel of oil moves by rail, approximately 30 percent more greenhouse gases are emitted into the air than if that same barrel is moved by pipeline.
We agree and appreciate their support.
Pipelines are the safest, cleanest way of conveying oil across Canada.
We also expect that the direct and indirect GHGs arising from the transport of oil via Energy East – from Alberta to Eastern Canada – will be less by pipeline than by rail. Why? Because much of the energy needed to move the oil inside the pipeline will come from low- or emissions-less electricity sources such as pumps powered by electric motors, whereas rail transport relies on diesel.
Would a pipeline make a difference to reduce emissions, even if you consider the GHGs created through the extraction of the oil that would ultimately need transport? Absolutely!
A recent report prepared by independent firm Navius for the Ontario Energy Board concluded that a large portion of the Energy East Pipeline capacity would be filled with oil that will be produced regardless of the project’s approval.
“As a result, the [Energy East] project’s approval does not affect production from these resources. The pipeline simply changes the mode of transport for these resources (from rail to pipeline). Emissions from oil transport actually decline due to the Energy East project.”
For over 60 years, TransCanada has been safely operating pipelines across North America. Clean air is important to all Canadians and as part of our commitment to our collective safety, long-term health and the environment, we want to stand with our neighbours and the medical professionals at the Asthma Society of Canada to do our part to keep the air clean.