Everyday more than 200,000 barrels of oil are transported by rail across Canada.
Many of these trains are travelling through the heart of communities across Northern Ontario, next to our homes, schools, playgrounds and businesses.
Rail infrastructure is a vital piece of Canadian infrastructure and is an important part of our community as a method of transporting goods across the country.
We rely heavily on rail to transport commodities and support local industry in Northern Ontario.
There will always be a place for the rail industry in our communities but with the growth of rail cars transporting petroleum products through our communities, it is time that we ask ourselves how we want that oil transported.
In 2013, TransCanada announced their plans to build the Energy East Pipeline Project, a 4,600 km pipeline that would transport approximately one million barrels of oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries and terminals in Eastern Canada.
While there is no doubt in my mind that Northern Ontario will see significant economic opportunities from this project, we also need to ensure the highest standard of protection for lands and our waterways across the north will be undertaken with Energy East.
The members of FONOM have been strong supporters of Energy East Pipeline Project – TransCanada has proven that they follow the highest safety and environmental standards which is vital to us.
We will continue to work with TransCanada to make sure communities – and our regions – interests are heard.
The demand for fossil fuels continues to grow – it would be unreasonable for us to pretend we can get off oil, diesel and gasoline anytime soon.
According to a recent study by the Canadian Energy Research Institute, it is estimated that the amount of oil transported through Ontario by rail will double by 2024 compared to 2012 levels – that means more than 305,000 railcars moving through communities.
With recent derailments in Northern Ontario top of mind, it is important that we recognize that there is a safer method of transporting oil which we shouldn’t shy away from.
Despite what many opposition groups claim – stopping pipeline projects such as Energy East won’t stop the development of the oil sands.
Oil will continue to be extracted but companies will end up having to rely heavily on rail, trucks and tankers to move the product across Canada.
Transporting oil by pipeline has been shown to be significantly safer than other modes of transportation.
So to me, we have a choice to make: between a safe pipeline, or more oil moving through Northern Ontario by rail.
I will continue to advocate for the safest option possible, and that is why we joined with 110 municipalities across the north to support Energy East.
President of the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities
Mayor of Kapuskasing