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This article was published 16/6/2016 (1485 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Two separate reports released Thursday argue Manitoba needs to focus less on fossil fuels and more on green energy.
A report released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is highly critical of the proposed Energy East pipeline. It states the touted economic benefits for the proposed 4,600-kilometre pipeline do not outweigh the cost to the environment, danger to Winnipeg’s drinking supply or potential loss of life caused by pipeline explosions.
Lynne Fernandez, one of the report’s authors and the Errol Black Chair in Labour Issues at the centre, said Manitoba should instead focus its energies on investing in alternatives to fossil fuels such as hydro, wind and solar power. She argues 40,000 full-time job equivalents could be created over 15 years if the province followed Manitoba Hydro’s demand-and-supply management strategy.
"It just makes more sense to be putting our efforts into that kind of development," Fernandez said. "Oil… is starting to be yesterday’s energy and there is a reason the Saudis are pulling it out of the ground as fast as they can and selling it."
Energy East would instead create 32,000 full-time job equivalents over 25 years, according to the Canadian Research Institute.
A separate report released Thursday by Clean Energy Canada, a non-partisan initiative of Simon Fraser University, echoed the centre’s report when it comes to green energy. Dan Woynillowicz, policy director with Clean Energy Canada, said Manitoba is positioned to play a leadership role when it comes to renewable energy across the country. The report looked at green-energy spending across the country.
Manitoba spent 121 per cent more ($704 million) in 2015 on clean energy compared with 2014, most of which went toward building the Keeyask hydro project up north.
"When you look at where the puck is going, it is going away from fossil fuels and toward clean sources of energy, and Manitoba already has a head start compared to other provinces in Canada and parts of the U.S.," Woynillowicz said. "Manitoba is unique in terms of the significant hydro aspect that it already has and the potential for more."
The proposed TransCanada Energy East pipeline would transport one million barrels of crude a day from Alberta, Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba to refineries in Quebec and a tidewater port in New Brunswick. The pipeline would run underneath Winnipeg’s aqueduct, which supplies the city’s drinking water from Shoal Lake on the Manitoba-Ontario border.
TransCanada announced Thursday its application with the National Energy Board is done. The 21-month review process will now begin, including public consultations.
TransCanada spokesman Tim Duboyce said the economic benefits will be felt across the country, helping to grow the resource sector. The pipeline would allow Canada to rely less on foreign oil exports, he said.
"They don’t have the same labour standards, worker safety and compensation. We are talking about a lot of Canadians making a decent living in the resource sector," he said.
Duboyce argues there is room in Canada for growth in investment in renewable energy and fossil fuels.
"I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive," he said.
"While renewables have a growing place in that mix, oil is going to continue to be needed."
Sustainable Development Minister Cathy Cox said the province requested intervener status in the National Energy Board review. When asked about the close proximity of the pipeline to Winnipeg’s drinking water, Cox said the government will "protect" Manitobans.
"We will ensure that we monitor everything."
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Updated on Thursday, June 16, 2016 at 2:16 PM CDT: adds report
6:01 PM: Updates with writethru
9:54 PM: Adds photo