What does it mean to live at the end of the largest proposed tar sands pipeline in North America?
I recently spent some time trying to answer this question. I visited Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada and spoke with several people about the proposed Energy East pipeline. I heard from residents, First Nations, and fishermen that would be impacted by this mega project.
With the cancellation of the deep sea port connection in Cacouna, Quebec, many are starting to ask one simple question. If threats to the St. Lawrence, organized citizen action, and an endangered Beluga whale can stop a deep sea terminal, why can’t the same happen in the Bay of Fundy? Tens of thousands of jobs in tourism and fisheries are supported by the Bay and it is home to the critically endangered Right Whale. The people of Saint John have been in the shadow of fossil fuel development for decades with little to show economically. Is enough enough?
The following are three stories from three different individuals in New Brunswick.
I am currently in New Brunswick turning my lens once again on the Energy East pipeline. With the decision by TransCanada to not pursue the deep sea port in Cacouna, Quebec, all eyes are now turned on the Bay of Fundy. With the support of the Council of Canadians and 350.org, I have the opportunity to capture some stories of the individuals and communities that would be impacted at the End of the Line.
At the heart of this issue in New Brunswick is the community of Red Head. Around 1500 people call the scenic Red Head home. Located within the city limits of Saint John, this community would be ground zero for the tank farm. The oil and bitumen would be stored here before it is loaded onto tankers for export.
New Brunswick is largely considered a captured province with the corporate influence of Irving dominating the politics, media and social life. However, the residents of Red Head are starting to organize against the pipeline. This is the story I find fascinating and I will share more soon.
On Saturday, April 4, 2015, over 25,000 citizens marched in Quebec City calling on Canadian Premiers and the Federal Government to Act on Climate. I was contracted by Greenpeace to cover this huge moment. Those images have been shared and used widely on the net the last few days, including over 15,000 times here on ThinkProgress. I believe that this march is a sign that the climate movement has hit a tipping point.
The Hardisty Tank Terminal, beginning of the proposed Energy East pipeline.
My latest photography project, Along the Pipeline, is underway. I am currently in Regina and I have been on the road for the last couple of weeks. My journey has taken me from Hardisty in Alberta and will continue to the East Coast of Canada. I have been photographing the individuals and the route of the proposed Energy East pipeline to find out what it means to Canadians and First Nations. It has been a great experience. I have met ranchers, farmers, oil workers, and foreign workers.
Photo session at the Gould Ranch in Alberta.
The project focuses on a series of large format portraits created on a 4×5 film camera. Each image will eventually be combined with a quote or little anecdote from that individual explaining their position on the pipeline and the future of Canada.
I hope that the photographs will create a journal and record of some of the people along the route and how they will be affected. You can follow all of the updates and the journey at my sister website, AlongthePipeline.com. From here I will keep moving east.
My upcoming project Along the Pipeline has just been featured on the popular Desmogblog. Check it out.
I will be following the line of the proposed Energy East pipeline in Canada to take portraits and tell the stories of those along the route. TransCanada, the same company behind the Keystone XL pipeline, is proposing another pipeline but this time across Canada. If approved, Energy East would transport 1.1 million barrels of diluted bitumen a day from the oil sands of Alberta to St. John. It would cross hundreds of waterways and drinking water supplies and would be responsible for greenhouse gas emissions that would equal 7 million new cars on the road.
This photography project gives me a chance to contribute to a larger conversation in Canada about climate change, oil and the future of this land. I am currently in the throes of a crowd funder for this project so please visit and support.
This evening TransCanada held their one and only open house in the vast city of Montreal. The open house was situated in the middle of nowhere in the east industrial area and almost everyone visiting got lost. Surprisingly, for a massive infrastructure project there were few ‘regular’ citizens to be seen. In fact there were more blue shirts in the room all night than ‘regular’ citizens.
But that statement doesn’t tell the whole story. It was clear that the majority of those blue shirts and regular citizens were actually concerned citizens. Save-Canada.com has been attending these events, dressed in almost exactly the same fatigue as the TransCanada representatives and handing out more information about how this pipeline will impact Canadians and the world. It seems that the TransCanada people don’t know what to do with them. Throughout the evening Save Canada, and SansTransCanada, their Quebec counterpart, engaged with citizens and even played a little game of ‘pin the spill on the pipeline’.
From my perspective it looks like TransCanada has a long uphill battle ahead. There are a lot of concerned citizens, few actual jobs and they are building an export pipeline. If you are looking for some more information here is one source. The visual story is below.