Transcription by André Faust
André Faust: Recently I caught up with Don McDonald a retired computer programmer analyst, as well an avid fisherman who has extensively fished the Miramichi River and the Nashwaak River.
Don now applies his analytical and research skills on the environmental impact that the construction the Energy East Pipeline could have on New Brunswick if this pipeline were to be constructed and put into service. Don has spent hours getting his information directly from primary sources, Government of New Brunswick, Energy East. TransCanada and others.
To fully understand what the potential impact this pipeline can have on New Brunswick’s delicate water shed system you have to be able to visualize the New Brunswick water system including all of the tributaries that this pipeline can cross.
If we look at the map, I have indicated in red most of the major tributaries and small streams that flows through the province.
Here is Don McDonald to explain the how large of an area we are talking about and what the consequences can be should there is a failure in the pipeline system.
Don McDonald: Yeah, I was here to talk about water mostly, I start off briefly with the Miramichi, my interest has been I fished the southwest Miramichi and the Nashwaak river system for years and years and years. A lot of people don’t even know. I think that the pipeline will cross the south branch of the southwest of the Miramichi and will also cross a number of tributaries of Lake Brook and Lake Brook itself.
It runs through the woods all of this distance from Lake Brook for example right to Boiestown. If you had a spilled that occurred in the late afternoon or early evening up in that area, Lake Brook in particular, maybe even the southwest branch it would reach Boiestown before anyone would see it.
Now their leak detection system the pipe can leak one and half to two percent before their automatic leak detection system kicks in. One and half percent of one point one million barrel is sixteen thousand five hundred barrels. Two percent is twenty-two thousand barrels both are bitumen. So a lot of stuff could get down to Boiestown before anybody would see it.
Their secondary leak detection system and this is clear throughout the province is that they fly the pipeline, typically they would like to do it within two weeks, every two weeks, but a maximum could be three weeks.
I have a document, I can’t give you the link to it here that shows thirty-seven million liters at one and a half percent can come out of that pipeline before its detected by somebody seeing it on the ground.
This is a terrible, terrible disaster the southwest Miramichi is still a good salmon river, there are sporting camps, there are private land, there are people who make a living on that river.
Maybe more interested in the Saint John here I think, but I thought I should bring that up because it is an important waterway in the province. As far as the Saint John goes I fished the Nashwaak and I know of a number of tributaries I’ve fished Cross Creek for example out there above Stanley, we were out there at Arnold brook, I knew of about Arnold Brook and McGivney Brook and Five Mile Brook and so on, ok, and they are others. All of these little brooks have tributaries, all the tributaries in these brooks run into the Cross Creek. The Cross Creek runs into the Nashwaak, the Nashwaak runs into and everybody around here knows exactly where the Nashwaak runs into the Saint John.
Now as far as other tributaries of the Saint John I don’t know a great deal about them the mapping is very poor as Marilyn said, but I know that Green River runs into it, and I know that the Tobique River runs into it. I thought I had another one here. No, I guess those are the only other I know, but I there are other areas ok. Cambridge Narrows is an area for example. It’s a beautiful spot and a big, big bunch of water down there and also Grand Lake that’s another huge body of water that this pipeline can leak into.
I spent a lot of time digging out all of this information. I dug the coordinates out of TransCanada’s previous filling for every crossing in New Brunswick, and there is two hundred and eighty-one water crossing in the province, so I loaded into Google earth so now I can draw it for the whole province in smaller pieces, but the problem is you don’t know, you can’t see the brooks well enough to see where they go.
There is a, SNB has maps available called New Brunswick atlas which you can get at, which is like a topographical map it has roads all of this and water, and all of that you can look at. You can zoom in on that and sort of follow stuff, but still very difficult to know exactly what is happening now.
So we can look at a leak anywhere on this pipeline. That was thirty-seven minutes. I worked out the worst case which was three weeks undetected at two percent seventy-three million liters.
The third I didn’t mention the third mechanism that they have after the flying, that’s after were seeing it or smelling it and here you are out in the middle of the woods miles from a leak, the leaks starts here and its miles to where anybody might see it a good part of the year.
Basically you’re at the mercy, there’s a leak, there is a lot of pipeline leaks all over the place.
Now the other thing about this stuff is that a lot of people don’t realize, they will try to deny is this stuff sinks eventually in water. I got evidence of it from a paper that is published on the National Energy Board website. They mix it with these delutiants they called them, could be propane, could be naphtha, could be various other all kinds (inaudible) and so on, they mix this stuff in it and heat it to get it to go through pipe. If you don’t do that it’s like heavy tar you couldn’t get it through the pipes. So they mix it with these delutiants and their volatile, so when it leaks, give it a day or so or two or more pending, pending on outdoor temperature and so on, and these evaporate and then what’s left sinks and gets into the sediments into the rocks and so on bottom of the rivers. So we have that to face on top of the fact that a leak is hard enough to clean up when it on the top.
If you want to find out, see what it’s like Google or YouTube Kalamazoo that all you have to do is look at Kalamazoo. Enbridge had a leak there it has been a total disaster, I think it was 2010 they spent over a million dollars already trying to clean it up the stuff is still in the mud and sediment in this river, the Kalamazoo river.
That sort of summarizes what got. I had a document, oh yeah, one more little thing, I had a document here, two documents it took me a lot of time to find all of the information in the initial filling. I don’t know how long I spent rooting through their stuff because it is poorly index and I finally found what I was looking for, and guess what, they just filed their new documents, they overwrote all the old documents. All the links that I figured out in order to get this information, gone. Now look through half again or two thirds again as much information to try and find information that I have already found and probably hasn’t changed or at least most of it. I was going to give out the documents, but I can’t, It’s broken, they broke it yesterday.
I wondered why the day before I couldn’t access the information, I was checking to make sure that these links all worked and I couldn’t access the site at all, and then yesterday, or this morning when I got there they filed the new, they filed all these new documents so pieces I got broken, they broke it, my time is not worth anything to them I guess.
That covers what I wanted to say other than it would be very helpful people right from the Quebec border right clear down to the mouth, to wherever the pipeline ends in Redhead if people along that river there is a link on the Conservation Council. I have (inaudible) Facebook or whatever, I can post on my page a couple of links to link to the NB Atlas and the link to the maps that the Conservation Council made that has the coordinates to all the various river crossing. I can post that but it sure would be a big help if we could consolidate information by people who knew the layout of the land in various places going down. I know the area that I was talking about, like I live in Stanly I know that area pretty well, but it would be helpful people living in the other areas documented this stuff and then we can get a better picture of the damage and where the damage would be all over the whole length of the pipeline.
That’s basically everything that I have to say well everything I dare say.
André Faust: We cannot forget that the forests are the lungs of the planet and the waterways and tributaries are the arteries and veins that keep the planet alive. Thank you for watching.