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Karine Audet

TransCanada veut laisser le pipeline en place à perpétuité. Donc après ça, nous les propriétaires deviendront responsables déversements qui s’en suivront. Un pipeline sur notre terre… Qu’est-ce qu’on va faire avec ça?

Qu’est-ce que nos enfants vont dire? Qu’est-ce que vous avez faire maman et papa pour laisser passer une affaire comme ça sur notre terre?”

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Janet Jonson

We bought this house 8 years ago. Now I understand that there is going to be an Energy East pipeline into Saint John and ending in the back field, where there will be a tank farm.

I am thinking of staying – at least until I get so sick from the tanks that I can’t stay here. I don’t know what is going to happen in the future, nobody ever does, but this is definitely our retirement home.”

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The following video features Ryan Theriault, owner and operator of Tranquil Acres, a therapeutic equestrian centre near Ottawa, Canada. He talks about how the proposed Energy East pipeline from TransCanada could affect him and his business. (Watch it Full Screen)

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Henry Harris is a fisherman on the island of Grand Manan in the Bay of Fundy. In the following multimedia presentation he talks about how the Energy East pipeline could affect the way of life on Grand Manan and all the people that rely on the lobster fishing industry.

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About ten years ago the social fabric of Cacouna was disrupted by a TransCanada proposal to build an LNG export terminal. Like all resource expansion projects, the proposal promised to bring jobs and economic development to the region. On the other hand, it threatened the way of life and the tourism industry for many in the region, not to mention the whales that call this area home. Although the proposal was eventually shelved for economic reasons, it tore apart the social fabric of the region.

TransCanada wishes to develop the port of Cacouna in Eastern Quebec so that they can load the oil or diluted bitumen on to tankers for export. The port would have to be drastically expanded and many residents are worried about the impact on whales, particulary Belugas, and the tourism industry. (Credit: Robert van Waarden - http://alongthepipeline.com) (Robert van Waarden)

Cynthia Calusic, an artisan paper manufacture in L’Isle Verte remembers those days well.

“Dans une petit communauté comme la nôtre, lorsque les gens ne se parlent plus et se dispute c’est extrêmement dommageable pour la vie au quotidien, toute bloque c’est le chaos. Dans une petite communauté comme la nôtre s’il n’y a pas de cohésion, tout bloque et on ne peut pas avancer,” says Cynthia.

(Translation: In a small community like ours, when the people don’t talk to each other and argue with each other it is very damaging to the daily life, everything stops and it is chaos. In a small community like ours if there is no cohesion, everything is blocked and we can not move forward.)

Now, TransCanada has returned with practically the exact same proposal under the disguise of oil export. The residents of Cacouna and nearby communities are being run through the ringer again. With TransCanada already undertaking exploratory drilling in the St. Lawrence river – without an environmental impact assessment – it is sure that the proposed Cacouna export terminal for Energy East is something we will hear more about.

The port of Cacouna in Eastern Quebec is one of the points that the proposed Energy East pipeline would off load oil or diluted bitumen for export to other countries. The port would have to be drastically expanded and many residents are worried about the impact on whales, particulary Belugas, and the tourism industry. (Credit: Robert van Waarden - http://alongthepipeline.com) (Robert van Waarden)

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The Energy East pipeline crosses over 900 waterways on its journey east. One very important river is the Saint Lawrence. The pipeline is proposed to cross near the town of Saint-Augustin de Desmaures just above the water intake for the city of Quebec.

Jacques Antcil examines the St. Lawrence river near where the Energy East pipeline is proposed to cross the major waterway. It is a major concern for Jacques and the residents of Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, Quebec.(Credit: Robert van Waarden - http://alongthepipeline.com) (Robert van Waarden)

I caught up with Jacques Anctil, a resident of Saint-Augustin de Desmaures, and president of La Fondation québécoise pour la protection du patrimoine naturel (FQPPN). The Foundation is dedicated to protecting at risk species along the river, particularly in the zone where the salt water meets the fresh water. They own 12 kilometres of land on the rivers edge and that land has been granted the same status as a Quebec Natural Reserve. TransCanada wants to put their pipeline right through this reserve.

 (Robert van Waarden)

When the FQPPN first heard about the project they met with TransCanada and proceeded to collect all the information they could. Their research and dealing with TransCanada led them to formally oppose the Energy East pipeline. The position adopted by the Foundation – a very careful and non-political body – was instrumental in the decision by the town of Saint-Augustin de Desmaures to formally adopt a resolution against the project. This position will be held at least until the Quebec government has formally completed a Environmental Impact Assessment (BAPE).

Someone has written 'Pipeline' on the road where the Energy East pipeline is proposed to run on its path under the St. Lawrence seaway in Quebec. Many residents and communities in Quebec are concerned about the proposed Energy East pipeline and what it could mean for climate change, spills, disasters and investing in an industry that is of yesterday. (Credit: Robert van Waarden - http://alongthepipeline.com) (Robert van Waarden)

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A video update from along the proposed Energy East pipeline route in Montmagny, Quebec. Le premier poste en Français.

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South of Ottawa is a unique place called Tranquil Acres. Owned and operated by Ryan Theriault, Tranquil Acres does Equine Assisted Therapy. The Energy East pipeline would pass behind the property of Tranquil Acres and Ryan is scared that his dream and his business could be destroyed by this project.

Ryan and his horses will be the subject of a greater multimedia piece but until we get to that, here are a couple images.

 Energy East Ottawa Rideau
 Energy East Ottawa Rideau

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Passing through the Ottawa River valley I caught up with owner and operator of OWL River Rafting Dirk van Wijk. This river system is world renowned for paddlers and people come from all over to raft and kayak these waters. The Energy East pipeline would not cross the Ottawa river at this point, but it does cross many tributaries including the Madawaska and Petawawa. If a spill were to happen in any of these waterways it could affect the million dollar tourism industry at play on these river systems.

Dirk van Wijk, owner and operator of OWL Rafting on the Ottawa River examines the river late in the evening. Although the proposed Energy East pipeline does not cross the Ottawa River it crosses many major and minor tributaries that feed into the system. A leak in any of those watersheds could impact the Ottawa River and have consequences for the million dollar industy that is tourism on the Ottawa. (Credit: Robert van Waarden - http://alongthepipeline.com) (Robert van Waarden)

Dirk and his family have been figures in the kayak and rafting scene on the Ottawa for decades. He reckons the industry attracts about 60,000 people a year to the area and the rivers are the main economic asset. There are probably 300-400 people employed during the season by rafting and guiding outfits. On a good day, OWL can accommodate 400 guests on the river.

“This is some of the best white water in the world. Big waves, it is safe, warm water, just tons of fun. People come from all over the world to paddle the Ottawa river. You ask any play boating kayaker what the best play spots in the world are and I am sure the Ottawa will be in their list,” Dirk says.

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Passing through North Bay I had the pleasure of sitting down with mayor Al MacDonald and listening to his concern about the pipeline. Mr. MacDonald says that during his term as mayor no issue has become so important in the community as the proposed pipeline.

“We’re a city of 55,000 people and we only have one source of drinking water. Should that source become contaminated, or if there is a major spill in that source, there is no plan B. What do you do for 55,000 people when you don’t have drinking water, bathing water, cooking water, no fire protection? From an economic point of view, businesses would all have to shut down and the long term economic sustainability is catastrophic. How do you promote your city when it is well known to be the centre of the biggest mess probably in the history of the country?” Al MacDonald, Mayor of North Bay

 (Robert van Waarden)

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On the way through Englehart, Ontario, I took some time out to visit with the incredibly knowledgeable Ambrose Raftis. Ambrose has lived in the Englehart area with his wife and two kids for about 35 years. Ambrose has been working on environmental issues since the late 70′s and one of his main concerns with the pipeline proposal is the liability that will be passed on to tax payers. Listen below.

Ambrose and I visited one of the sites where the TransCanada mainline, full of natural gas at the time, exploded in 1979. The line has exploded a few times. In 1979 and 2009 near Englehart, Ontario, in 2011 near Beardmore, Ontario, and recently in 2014 near St. Pierre-Jolys, Manitoba. A conversion of one of these pipes from gas to carrying heavy crude and dilbit means that an explosion on one of the remaining gas lines could have very different consequences. I hate to imagine if this were to happen in a place like Regina.

Energy East Englehart

Ambrose points out the site of the 1979 explosion.

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I took some time out to visit with Elzbieta in Kapuskasing. Elzbieta is originally from Poland and came to Canada in 1985. Since 1987 she and her husband have been trappers in the Kapuskasing region.
 (Robert van Waarden)
“I don’t like the fact that they would change this (natural gas) pipeline to transport crude oil.” she says.

She took me to the location where the pipeline crosses the Kapuskasing river and we spoke with one of the individuals with the pipe on his land. He remembers the day that they laid the pipeline on the bottom of the river. According to him the pipe was laid on the bottom of the river instead of burying it under because it was much cheaper for TransCanada.
 (Robert van Waarden)
The pipeline sits on one of Elzbieta’s trap lines and she is just generally concerned about what we are doing to the environment. “Even here, you have so much forest and lately you hardly hear any birds, it is unbelievable what is happening to the environment,” she says. “People always want more and more and more and it is never enough. I am not really in a position to criticize somebody, but for me, there are certain levels where it is enough.”
 (Robert van Waarden)

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Keith Hobbs is a retired police officer. After 34 years he left the Force and ran for mayor, winning in a landslide. Hobbs is against the Energy East pipeline proposal and has some serious concerns. Most of these concerns are not only from the perspective as mayor of Thunder Bay, but also from his position as the Chair of the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Cities initiative. This initiative includes 114 mayors from Canada and the US and represents over 40 million residents, many of which get their drinking water from the Lakes.

Energy East Thunder Bay

The Sleeping Giant and Lake Superior from Thunder Bay.

Energy East would not run directly through Thunder Bay but Hobbs is watching the Energy East pipeline and other proposed transportation of fossil fuels past his city with a ‘hawk eye’. His chief concern is where it would cross the Nipigon River.

Another concern for Hobbs in relation to the proposed Energy East pipeline is climate change.

Hobbs is on a growing list of Mayors that are opposed to the Energy East pipeline proposal.

 (Robert van Waarden)

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It was pouring when I stopped for the evening at the Lac de Mille Lacs First Nation’s Savanne River Retreat. The water was already high in Northern Ontario and communities were on flood watch further south.

 (Robert van Waarden)

Lac de Mille Lacs First Nation has two reserves in Northern Ontario. However, due to flooding from dam projects by the Ontario government, most of the population is spread throughout Northwestern Ontario. The First Nation is trying to rebuild on their land and part of that includes the campsite and River Resort that I stopped at.

Much to my surprise, the TransCanada mainline runs right through the River Resort and the pow wow grounds are built on top of the pipeline. Unfortunately, no one was able to comment on the situation because the chief was at a meeting in Thunder Bay when we passed through.

 (Robert van Waarden)

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Video update from where the proposed Energy East would go under the world famous Nipigon River that flows into Lake Superior.

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The shoreline of Lake of the Woods is dominated by cottages. Thousands of people come from Manitoba, Ontario and the rest of Canada to Kenora and the surrounding area to spend long summer days on the water.

 (Robert van Waarden)

The Energy East pipeline would run right through the Lake of the Woods watershed and crosses the Winnipeg River just north of Kenora. One of the main points consistently presented by supporters of the Energy East proposal is ‘jobs’. One has to wonder how many jobs would be destroyed if a dilbit spill occurred on Lake of the Woods and devastated the tourism industry. I certainly enjoyed the beer at the Lake of the Woods Brewery and would hate to see their water in jeopardy.

 Energy East Kenora Pipeline

While in the Kenora area I discovered a open pit excavation on the TransCanada mainline just above the Winnipeg River crossing. We aren’t sure what they are doing here, but it appeared that they may be already installing valves in the pipe in anticipation of the Energy East project.

UPDATE: A source visited the site after me and spoke with the crew. It appears that they are not installing valves yet, but were conducting integrity tests and upgrades. Most likely pre Energy East work in order to expedite the project if it comes.

 (Robert van Waarden)

The crossing point for the TransCanada line under the Winnipeg River.

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“Water is life.”

Following our time in Winnipeg, Manitoba, we moved on to the Shoal Lake area to visit First Nation reserves Shoal Lake 39 and 40. The First Nations sit on the lake that is the water supply of Winnipeg. There are some long standing water disputes here. Running the proposed Energy East pipeline through this watershed just adds another dimension. More on our visit and the people we met will follow in another post.

Some images from our visit below.

 (Robert van Waarden)

 (Robert van Waarden)

 (Robert van Waarden)

 (Robert van Waarden)

L-R Crystal Greene, Adam, Chief Fawn Wapioke

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 (Robert van Waarden)

Digital proof of the photo shoot.

We caught up with small business owner Jon McPhail at his Sticky Bun shop in Winnipeg. Jon is a fresh, bright eyed, young entrepreneur with a passion for supporting local products and farms. His business is structured around ‘go local’ – it reduces the travel footprint of its ingredients and it is a booming success. The afternoon that we chatted, Jon had to turn away several people because they were sold out. Lucky for me, I first met Jon in the morning at his bun cart in downtown Winnipeg and snagged one of his Coffee Nut Buns for breakfast.

 (Robert van Waarden)

 

A lot of Jon’s family are farmers and although he may not be buying directly from them, he loves supporting his local farming community. He knows where his grain and other ingredients come from, and that is the cornerstone of his business.

Jon says that he doesn’t know nearly as much as he should about the Energy East pipeline. But he does wonder how Manitoba is getting ‘suckered in’ to these projects that don’t benefit Manitoba.

“It feels a little wrong,” he says, “It feels like we are moving in the wrong direction. It feels like the majority of people who are thinking not short-term, are thinking 10, 20, 50 years ahead, saying this is 100% the wrong direction. We need to be moving in a different direction.”

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When in Winnipeg we met up with Crystal Greene and a few other strong and vocal First Nations women & men. All are firmly against the Energy East pipeline.

The Aboriginal People’s Television Network stopped by to document what this project is about. Click here for their short piece on Along the Pipeline and Energy East. 

 

 Energy East Winnipeg APTN

Lorraine and Jo hold up a banner in Winnipeg

 

 Energy East Winnipeg APTN

Crystal is interviewed by APTN

 (Robert van Waarden)

Light meter reading for Jo

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Outside of Austin, Manitoba, the various modes of transporting goods across this country converge. We caught up with organic farmer Robert Smith on our way East. During a conversation that included oil pipelines, organic agriculture, economics and transportation, Robert had this to say.

“You have the main CN rail line, the main CPR rail line, the Trans Canada highway, and the TransCanada pipeline coming through. I’ve seen train derailments, major accidents, pipelines blowing up, you know it is a matter of time until it happens again. The question I have for our emergency personnel is; are you ready for it? And are you ready for it when it happens in a sensitive area like in my water source?”

Robert is also vocal about the “pipelines vs. rail” argument. As you listen to the following soundclip remember that Energy East has been proven to be an export pipeline, with the majority of the oil planned to be shipped for export from St. John. 

 Energy East, pipeline, Austin)

Robert Smith and Adam stand on the Trans Canada highway. In the background the rail line and the TransCanada pipeline are visible.

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 Energy East Rivers pipeline

Mural in Rivers

The town of Rivers, Manitoba is growing. It has become a favourite community for workers commuting to Brandon and boasts a library, Home Hardware, three restaurants and a legion, marking it a ‘large’ rural Manitoba town.

One of the main attractions is the Rivers Provincial Park, a hidden diamond of a campground and recreation area. If you can get past the wall of mosquitos that blankets Manitoba forests at this time of year, a beautiful lake – Lake Wahtopanah, meaning ‘canoe people’ – awaits.

We stopped in Rivers because the TransCanada line runs under the Wahtopanah lake. Almost no one in the town that we spoke to knew this. Even the park attendant, Kathy Gross, wasn’t really aware of the situation.

 (Robert van Waarden)

Kathy has lived in Rivers all of her life and she seems resigned to the fact that our world right now needs oil. She does wish that there was a better way to ship it than a pipeline underground. “We have spills on the news constantly,” she says. If the pipe were to spring a leak under the lake, “that would affect that town of Rivers, that is our drinking water.” Kathy says.

“People adapt, we are so used to adapting that if it [oil] was taken away from us we could adapt to live without it,” Kathy says.

 (Robert van Waarden)

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East of Wapella, Saskatchewan, TransCanada has proposed to build a tank terminal for the proposed Energy East pipeline. A lateral pipeline to Cromer, Manitoba, would bring in oil from North Dakota, and the tank storage would allow TransCanada to ship Bakken shale oil as well.

 (Robert van Waarden)

Before reaching that terminal station, the Energy East pipeline would dissect the Red Lily windfarm. Art Dickoff has both the TransCanada mainline and a wind turbine on his property. It provided an interesting contrast and a great topic of discussion with the Dickoffs when we sat down for coffee.

Art is a heavy duty diesel mechanic and only owns three ‘quarters’ of land (one quarter is 160 acres), which is a small property for Saskatchewan. Art remembers when they first laid the pipe on the property – he was a small kid and he remembers running through the empty pipeline with his friends.

 (Robert van Waarden)

A day-old llama and her mother on the Dickoff’s farm.

Art says the pipeline doesn’t bother him ‘one iota’ and he doesn’t dwell on it. He then mentions that if the pipeline blew up like the incident in Manitoba last winter, “then our siding would melt off our house.”

The Dickoff’s are enthusiastic about the wind turbine that now sits on their land. Unlike the pipeline, a percentage of the profits from the turbine is sent to the landowners, they receive rent for the land occupied and when the wind blows, as it always does, they are happy. Art took particular joy in taking his grandson out to explore the construction of the turbine.

“Thinking back now, I was more than likely as interested in that pipeline coming through as my grandson is with the turbines,” Art says.

 (Robert van Waarden)

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Video update from the Red Lily windfarm on the TransCanada Energy East pipeline route in Saskatchewan.

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 Energy East TransCanada - Regina

Elder Bob Smoker

Upon arriving in Regina I was greeted by Sue Deranger. Sue is a member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and is a force to be reckoned with. 35 years ago, and seven months pregnant, she was forced from her home by uranium mining development. She moved to Regina intending to stay for 3 months. “It has been a long 3 months,” Sue says.

Sue has dedicated her life to fighting for indigenous issues and the environment. However, the Energy East pipeline is especially important to her. The construction of it would further exacerbate the destruction of her ancestral homeland in the tar sands of Alberta, and now that same product is also coming through Regina.

 Energy East Regina - Jim

Talking with Jim Elliott

Sue was kind enough to organize a meeting the evening I arrived, that brought together some of the main Regina activists. After sharing this project with the group, they kindly shared their thoughts and views on the pipeline. Throughout the next couple of days I took the opportunity to interview many of these individuals and get their thoughts on tape.

Bob Smoker, First Nations Elder, was especially generous with his time and sharing his spiritual views on the planet. Terri, or ‘warrior woman’ as Sue referred to her, is confined to a wheelchair by MS. That hasn’t stopped her from taking on, and winning, many fights in Regina. Jim works with the Council of Canadians and can often be found helping rehabilitate wildlife. Evening Star, a Cree woman, is a self-described ‘sacrificial lamb’, willing to engage in non-violent civil disobedience to stop this pipeline. Florence, a retired university teacher, is now dedicated full time to local struggles. Cubby, a member of the Kewakatoos First Nation and activist, is in the process of moving back to the land.

It was an amazing variety of different and powerful personalities. Everyone was concerned that the pipeline comes right through Regina. As with all the portraits on this trip they were captured with a film camera and those portraits will be shared when developed.

 Energy East Regina activist dog

Buddy the activist dog

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 Energy East Regina

New subdivision Harbour Landing

The Energy East pipeline will bring the oil and diluted bitumen right through Regina. When I say through, I mean it. A new suburb development in Regina, Harbour Landing, has the route running right through. The land where the pipeline sits is optimistically named an environmental reserve. One only has to look at the Mayflower spill in Arkansas to get an idea what this could mean.

Energy East TransCanada Harbour Landing

Source: http://www.harbourlanding.net/

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Lots of dog love along the pipeline. Here are a few snapshots of friends.

 Energy East Dogs

Buddy, Regina, Saskatchewan

 Energy East Dogs

Jewel, Consort, Alberta

Energy East Dogs

Lucky, Regina, Saskatchewan

 TransCanada Energy East

Sid, Regina, Saskatchewan

Trying to get the dog Jep to pose for a photograph, unsuccesful in the end. (Robert van Waarden)

Jep and Family, Lemsford, Saskatchewan

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 (Robert van Waarden)

Chaplin is a small community off Highway 1 between Swift Current and Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan. It is home to a large salt deposit and a world renowned birding area. The proposed Energy East pipeline would run north of town. I stopped here for a couple of days and spent most of my time waiting for farmers to be available to chat. It is a really busy time of year for farmers but luckily Mike Gerbrandt took some time out of his busy schedule to share his thoughts.

Mike and his family have been farming the hilly land north of Chaplin for generations. In total they farm about 9,000 acres and run 250 head of cattle. The proposed pipeline would run through their property. Mike is pro pipeline. He says that the revenue from the taxes help out the municipality and in his experience TransCanada does a good job working with landowners. He says they regularly fly over the pipeline route and they return soil to a natural state so he isn’t concerned. He doesn’t think that we will see the end of oil in his lifetime. However he does believe that we should be moving towards a greener future and he points out that Chaplin is in the final stages of acquiring a wind farm in the municipality.

Digital proof image of Mike below.

 (Robert van Waarden)

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The Mainline
May 292014

 (Robert van Waarden)

TransCanada’s Mainline is already in the ground. The line runs from Burstall on the Alberta/Saskatchewan border through to the Ontario/Quebec border. The company is proposing to change one of the natural gas pipelines to carry crude oil and diluted bitumen for the Energy East project.  Throughout most of Saskatchewan the line runs under ranch or farm land.

The Mainline is made up of six different pipes of varying age. Most landowners I have met have been questioning the age of the pipe although some are confident that TransCanada’s technology will be enough to ensure the safety of the pipeline. Considering that the US government just slapped TransCanada with additional requirements based on poor build performance of Keystone XL southern section, we must consider if they are up to the job. At least one landowner in Alberta believes that it is a big mistake to be running crude oil through an old line.

Along the line are Pump Stations. The image below is Pump Station #5 near Cabri, Saskatchewan.

 (Robert van Waarden)

(Robert van Waarden)

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The Great Sandhills
May 292014

 (Robert van Waarden)

The proposed Energy East pipeline would travel through the Great Sand Hills in western Saskatchewan. The Sand Hills are an ecologically diverse region and home to over 150 species of birds and 20 species of mammals. Archaelogists have discovered that the area has been continuosly occupied by humans for 11,500 years. Many First Nations consider the Sand Hills a special place and they believe that the Sand Hills is where the spirits live on after death.

 (Robert van Waarden)

Since the 1980′s the ‘sweet’ gas production in the Sand Hills has been on the rise. It is estimated that about 15-20% of the recoverable gas reserves in Saskatchewan lie under the Sand Hills.

 (Robert van Waarden)

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Dusty and Family
May 282014

 (Trying to get the dog Jep to sit for a portrait, unsuccesfully.)

Dusty and his family before him have been living near the Great Sandhills for over 100 years. Parts of the land he now leases have never been leased to any other family since the Crown started the practice. Now Dusty, his wife Cori and their three kids run the ranch here on the wide open prairie. They run over 400 head of cattle and own or lease about 10,000 acres. Part of that includes the Great Sandhills.

The pipe for the Sandhills section of the Energy East proposal is already in the ground. TransCanada is proposing to convert an old gas pipeline to carry oil and diluted bitumen across this fragile region.

 (Robert van Waarden)

Trying to get the dog Jep to sit for a portrait, unsuccessfully.

Dusty isn’t exactly pleased about the possibility of another oil pipeline through the Sandhills. He says that if there was a spill in the hills it would be better than in a river or waterway, but it would still be a disaster. There would be so much heavy equipment going into the hills to remove the sand it would be a mess.

“I believe we should all live within our means and our own environment,” says Dusty. “They need this oil because they think they need it.” He and Cori are trying hard to reduce their impact. They reduce fuel consumption when possible, grow their own food, work the prairie to provide the maximum benefit to all creatures involved and have returned thousands of acres to native grassland.

“It sure seems like a waste of money for something that isn’t going to last that long,” says Dusty about the proposed pipeline.

 (Robert van Waarden)

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One must always photograph the road signs when coming into another province. If you look closely you can see what appear to be bullet dents. Welcome to Saskatchewan.

 (Robert van Waarden)

 (Robert van Waarden)

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 (Robert van Waarden) One of the difficulties of travelling through Alberta on this project is that everyone is very busy. It is the springtime and the farmers and ranchers are seeding, spraying, branding, calving etc. The days are long and that means they can work long, long hours. It also means they don’t always have much time for a curious photographer.  (Robert van Waarden) Such was the case with the Herns near Bindloss. The Herns run a whole bunch of cattle and the day I visited they were preparing to brand. In total I got to speak to them for maybe 15 minutes. Barely enough time to get them in front of the 4×5 camera and make some portraits. Carol Hern was kind enough to take a few moments afterwards to share her thoughts on the pipeline. “I think it’s great,” she says, “We need to get the oil out of Alberta.” When I questioned her on the climate change aspect of the pipeline Carol simply responded. “You don’t really believe in all of that do you?”  (Robert van Waarden) However, our conversation led on and Carol admitted that she was concerned about the prospect of all the pipelines being abandoned and the landowner being stuck with the pipe in the ground. She also thought that the next generation would come up with another fuel source when it was necessary. I would have enjoyed talking to Carol and Jim further but the calves were calling and it was time for them to mount up and head out branding. A digital proof from our photo shoot is below.  (Robert van Waarden)

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While speaking with locals near Consort, Alberta, one of them tipped me off to this massive pile of pipe that is sitting unused in a field. I can’t be sure but I assume that it is for the Keystone XL project.
 (Robert van Waarden)
 (Robert van Waarden)

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Shots from behind the scenes portrait session at the Gould Ranch.

 (Robert van Waarden) (Robert van Waarden)

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I have had the wonderful opportunity the last couple of days to spend time on the Gould Ranch in Consort, Alberta. I saw for the first time a calf being born and had great discussions with Nora Gould, a poet and rancher and her husband Charles and daughter Zoe.

 (Robert van Waarden) (Robert van Waarden)

 (Robert van Waarden)

 

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Pat in Hardisty
May 252014

Pat Wheeler’s house is noticeable by the yellow door and the angel out front. She painted that door yellow in the middle of winter and the town was talking about it for weeks. Hardisty hasn’t changed much over the last decades and everyone knows everyone.

For a town tied to an extractive industry, I was surprised by how much ‘community’ seems to have been retained. Often, when a town’s future and economy runs on a booming, extractive industry, the transient population and money leads to many problems. One only has to look at Fort McMurray as an example.

Here, workers come in waves: ten days on, four days off. The tank terminal and new rail turnaround station are booming and every income here is tied someway to the oil and gas industry. So, getting people to open up and speak ‘on record’ about what they think of the Energy East pipeline was challenging.

Pat Wheeler was one person who was happy to chat. A Hardisty resident for only 6 months and a Zimbabwean refugee, Pat and I spent hours chatting. Over a few beers we discussed the town, the oil industry and the world in general. Pat loves the energy in Hardisty, believes in the community and thinks that the pipeline is a good idea because it is the safest way to transport oil. She works in the oil industry but finds herself questioning whether the job fits with her beliefs and what she thinks needs to change. She believes there is a need to shift to renewables. She acknowledges that her generation is one that has built their livelihood on the fossil fuel industry and that any talk of change creates a tremendous fear.

A digital proof from our shoot together is below.

Next stop. Consort.

 (Robert van Waarden)

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40 years ago there were four tanks in Hardisty. Now, no one in the town seems to know how many there are, or how big it will get.

An huge oil train approaches the Hardisty rail terminal. (Robert van Waarden)The Hardisty Tank terminal at night. (Robert van Waarden)

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Arrival in Hardisty
May 212014

Yesterday afternoon I arrived in Hardisty, the small town, boasting a large tank terminal, that would be the beginning of Energy East. It is also the ‘headwater’ (headpipe?) of the existing Keystone pipeline, the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and a variety of other pipelines. In short, for the last several decades this town’s economy has been tied directly to the transport and shipping of oil and gas.

The tank farm on the outskirts of town dominates the horizon with its lights. The farm has grown from just a few tanks in the 1940′s, and has probably expanded 100 times since. TransCanada is planning on constructing at least 24 more tanks and they seem to be the new player in town. Enbridge, Gibson Energy and EnCana are established already.

With a population of about 700 people, there are three restaurants, all of which seem to be full of men eating their dinner between 6-8pm and then emptying out, at least on the Tuesday that I arrived. Of course, it is different if there is a hockey game on. Parked on most streets are a few trailers housing temporary workers. The RV parks in town are often full and the rental prices are pretty high for a small rural Albertan town.

Welcome to oil country.

 (Robert van Waarden)

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New Brunswick is often referred to as the ‘Drive Through’ province. In fact, the artist David Myles even wrote a song about it. As David aptly points out in his song, the addition of a new highway between Fredericton and Edmunston makes this easier.

However, if you take a moment and get off the highway you will find little towns like Perth-Andover. I stopped in Perth-Andover to talk with mayor Terry Ritchie. The pipeline will probably not pass through the town of Perth-Andover but it will threaten the water supply and ecosystems of northern New Brunswick. Listen to Ritchie discuss the jobs myth perpetuated by pipeline proponents below.

While I was in Perth-Andover the entire town was on flood watch. In 2012 the banks of the river were breached and the town was flooded. Terry and his colleagues were very busy maintaining a watchful eye on the flood situation. Increased precipitation due to climate change has increased the likelihood of floods. The climate implications of the Energy East pipeline would be like putting 7 million new cars on the road. Is this the future we want?

An outtake from my portrait session with Terry.

 (Robert van Waarden)

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 (Robert van Waarden)

St. Mary’s First Nations reservation is located right in the middle of Fredericton, New Brunswick. I had an opportunity to visit and speak with several members of the Nation while visiting Fredericton. Although the Energy East pipeline would not pass directly through the reservation, it would pass through and threaten the water of the traditional lands of St. Mary’s people.

The St. Mary’s First Nation are Maliseet and one of six Wolastoqiyik people. Wolastoqiyik means People of the Beautiful and Plentiful River. Canadians know this river as the St. John river. The proposed Energy East pipeline may not cross the St. John but it will cross hundreds of tributaries and smaller watersheds in New Brunswick. The Wolastoqiyik are very concerned about the impacts the pipeline could have on the water for as they say, ‘water is life’.

I had an opportunity to spend the evening with two amazing singers and leaders in the St. Mary’s community, Judie and Angee Acquin. They shared their stories and their concerns about the pipeline and the direction of this world. They pointed out that Canadians have entered into Treaty agreement with the First Nations too and it is every Canadian’s responsibility to uphold the treaties and hold their government accountable to those treaties.

As the sun was setting on the mighty river they shared the following song with me.

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Today I tried to get to Harcourt to visit with Willi Nolan who is doing amazing work around the Fracking in New Brunswick. However I was turned back by flooded and closed roads. An unprecedented amount of snow and precipitation has fallen in New Brunswick this winter leading to at least one 100 year old covered bridge being lost and a couple of towns flooded.

 (Robert van Waarden)

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I have spent the last couple of days interviewing and photographing some of the individuals that live in Saint John. Saint John is already under the heavy swell of industry and residents live in an epicentre of the largest oil refinery in Eastern North America, a nuclear power plant and an LNG terminal. The new pipeline and tank terminal would just add to the health, noise, and climate impacts, while adding a minimal number of jobs.

 (Robert van Waarden)

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 (Robert van Waarden)

Grand Manan is a jewel of an island located in the Bay of Fundy. Home to over 2000 people, the majority of the income and livelihood is somehow connected to the booming lobster fishery. I was lucky enough to join Brian Guptill and his crew on board the Lucky Duck to get a first hand look at the life of a lobster fisherman.

Our 14 hour day began at five am and I spent the majority of that feeding the fishes. I would lose my breakfast overboard and pick up the camera to keep shooting. It wasn’t exactly a pleasant experience for the first little while but the seas and my stomach calmed down in the afternoon. I must say that the lobster that accompanied me home in my bag made it worth it.

One of the fisherman, Henry Harris, was kind enough to share an interview with me the next day and allow me to make his portrait. This portrait, not seen here, will certainly be a part of the final exhibit. It is apparent to most on this island that if an oil tanker were to go down in the Bay of Fundy it could wipe out the lobster fishing industry and the island.

 (Robert van Waarden)

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Serge Simon is the elected chief of the Mohawk Nation in Kanesatake Quebec. In the following multimedia piece he talks about the his opposition to the Energy East Pipeline. Best viewed full screen.

Along the Pipeline | Serge Simon, Grand Chief Kanesatake, Quebec from Robert van Waarden on Vimeo.

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