ALTON GAS (NS): a potential disaster in slow motion

ALTON GAS (NS): a potential disaster in slow motion

Postby Oscar » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:39 am

Alton Gas project a potential disaster in slow motion

[ http://canadians.org/blog/alton-gas-pro ... low-motion ]

March 8, 2017 - 7:12 pm

Op-ed published in Local Xpress, March 7, 2017 [ https://www.localxpress.ca/opinions/opi ... ion-551335 ]

As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: 'Governments grant permits, but communities grant permission.' It’s critical that we continue to reject this project, not only to avoid its immediate consequences, but to erode the pervasive profit-at-all-costs mentality driving unsustainable development.

It has been four years since the Nova Scotia government approved Alton Gas’s plan to build a natural gas pipeline for its massive gas storage project.

Alberta-based AltaGas’s Alton Gas project plans to drill into a Colchester County salt vein about 10 kilometres northeast of Stewiacke, flush out large caverns in the salt bed and dispose of the resulting brine by dumping it into the Shubenacadie River. Once the mining is complete, the company would fill the caverns with natural gas at incredibly high pressures.

Alton Gas is a tangible example of the profit-at-all-costs mentality of our current society, despite the obvious dangers.

Luckily, due largely to the company’s brazen approach, the project is delayed [ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scot ... m=referral ] from its proposed completion date [ https://www.novascotia.ca/nse/ea/Alton/ ... m=referral ] this year and the expected gas storage capacity is much less than was originally proposed. [ https://www.localxpress.ca/local-news/a ... ect-432939 ]

This project is cringe-worthy on many levels, but there are four key problems: water, climate, indigenous rights, and public control of natural resources.

Alton Gas vs. water

This project threatens water at every stage of its construction and operation. Much of the opposition to the project has centred on the Shubenacadie River [ http://www.thecoast.ca/halifax/going-ag ... m=referral ] and the impact the salt brine would have on the ecosystem that provides food, livelihood and culture for all people, Mi’kmaq and otherwise.

Beyond the Shubenacadie River, the pipe that would carry brine from the caverns to the river runs through 12 kilometres of farmers’ fields. Just one leak could spill up to 989,000 litres of salt brine [ https://www.novascotia.ca/nse/ea/Alton/ ... m=referral ] into farmland at a concentration 10 times higher than seawater, devastating food production, surface water and the local economy.

A 10-kilometre lateral connection line would carry natural gas from the caverns to the Maritimes & Northeast pipeline. That connector requires clearing a 20-metre strip of land for the length of the pipeline — that’s about 20 hectares of land stripped bare amid wetlands and stands of old-growth forest. It would then cross under the Stewiacke River, depriving it of critical stabilizing plant life at the steepest point along its banks. If the pipeline burst under the river, methane would bubble through the water and into the atmosphere.

Then there are the caverns themselves. Alton Gas suggests that the salt caverns would be completely sealed and leak-proof, but statistics tell us otherwise. There are only about 40 natural gas cavern storage projects in North America, with a 65 per cent incidence rate over 30 years. [ https://canadians.org/blog/unacceptable ... m=referral ]

In environmental assessment documents, [ https://www.novascotia.ca/nse/ea/Alton/ ... m=referral ] Alton Gas itself admits that leaks happen, citing one case where natural gas appeared 12 kilometres away from the storage site in a populated area, evoking my-tap-water-is-on-fire imagery. [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LBjSXW ... m=referral ] The risk of the high-pressure natural gas inside the caverns leaking into groundwater cannot be overlooked.

Alton Gas vs. climate

The link between new fossil fuel infrastructure and climate change should be obvious. We’re fast approaching Earth’s climate tipping point, and leaders ranging from the Pope to Neil Young are pleading with politicians to ditch fossil fuels in favour of renewable energies.

So why is Nova Scotia supporting this new fossil fuel project instead of a just transition to a green energy economy?

The Alton Gas development is more insidious than a single project — it is the natural gas industry’s foot in the door to expand transportation and consumption in Nova Scotia. While this project originally proposed four gas storage caverns, the company openly discussed its plans to “develop as many as 10 to 15 caverns.” [ https://www.novascotia.ca/nse/ea/Alton/ ... m=referral ] A storage facility of that size would vastly exceed Nova Scotia’s current natural gas needs, and would facilitate an export market, likely servicing liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities, and would enable further fossil fuel industry expansion.

Under no circumstances are the Alton Gas project or spinoff fossil fuel developments in line with Nova Scotia’s commitments to curb emissions.

Alton Gas vs. indigenous rights

Despite government overtures about reconciliation, indigenous peoples, their values, and First Nation treaties are consistently disregarded in favour of fossil fuel extraction and transportation.

The consultation with Mi’kmaq communities was laughable, and resulted in a bitter legal case that ended in January. [ https://www.localxpress.ca/local-news/s ... nce-523547 ] The result? The Nova Scotia government, after deeply embarrassing itself, was required to revisit some aspects of the consultation with Sipekne’katik First Nation. [ http://www.thecoast.ca/halifax/coloniza ... m=referral ]

If reconciliation is what Nova Scotia wants, supporting the Alton Gas project is an example of what not to do.

Alton Gas vs. your right to know

As I have alluded to above, the public has been largely excluded from the review of Alton Gas’s impact. Neighbours of the cavern sites — their front doors are only a hundred feet away — did not know about the project until nearly seven years after it was proposed. Having been left out of the original consultation process, neighbours are disputing wetland alteration permits, searching for emergency contingency plans and looking for Alton Gas’s "community liaison committee," which is rumoured to exist but nowhere to be found.

The public has been consistently kept out of decision-making in an environmental assessment process that does not value meaningful public participation.

In these ways, Alton Gas exposes what is wrong with a public decision-making framework based on profit.

As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: “Governments grant permits, but communities grant permission.” It’s critical that we continue to reject this project, not only to avoid its immediate consequences, but to erode the pervasive profit-at-all-costs mentality driving unsustainable development.

Robin Tress is an organizer with the Council of Canadians, a national social justice organization. For three years, she has been working alongside leaders from Sipekne’katik and beyond to stop Alton Gas. She’s co-organizing panel discussions about Alton Gas in multiple Nova Scotia communities, with an event in Halifax on March 27.

Tags: Alton Gas
[ http://canadians.org/tags/alton-gas ]

Robin Tress's blog
Council of Canadians Atlantic Regional Organizing Assistant
[ http://canadians.org/blogs/robin-tress ]
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Re: ALTON GAS (NS): a potential disaster in slow motion

Postby Oscar » Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:06 am

Town hall tour against Alton Gas stops in Halifax

[ http://canadians.org/media/town-hall-to ... ps-halifax ]

Media Advisory March 27, 2017

WHAT: A panel discussion about the Alton Gas project and the movement to stop it, featuring frontline Mi’kmaq land and water protectors. The speakers will focus on the risks Alton Gas poses to water, climate and energy systems, Indigenous rights, and environmental rights, and also speak about the opportunities for policy and culture changes around these issues. This panel is part of a town hall tour with another stop planned in Antigonish, and more forthcoming.

WHEN: March 27, 7:00 p.m.

WHERE: Dalhousie Student Union Building, McInnes Room, 6136 University Ave, Halifax

WHO: Panelists include Dorene Bernard (water protector and Sipekne’katik elder), Jim Maloney (Sipekne’katik district war chief), and Dale Poulette (treaty Truckhouse organizer [ https://www.facebook.com/groups/367128616772242/ ] ). This panel is organized by the Council of Canadians, the Canada Research Chair in Sustainability and Social Change Leadership, and Dalhousie students. -30-

Contact:

Robin Tress, Organizer with the Council of Canadians -
902 223 8526
rtress@canadians.org
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Re: ALTON GAS (NS): a potential disaster in slow motion

Postby Oscar » Wed Mar 29, 2017 4:40 pm

Treaty Truckhouse update: town hall tour!

[ http://canadians.org/blog/treaty-truckh ... -hall-tour ]

March 29, 2017 - 3:09 pm

(PHOTO: I took this photo while Jim Maloney, war chief for the Sipekne'katik district of Mi'kma'ki, spoke about Alton Gas at a town hall on Monday March 27th in Halifax.)

Recently I co-hosted two events related to this topic along with partners from the grassroots of the fight against Alton Gas, a few Dalhousie University students, and the Canada Research Council on Sustainability and Social Change. The first was panel discussion on UNDRIP [ http://canadians.org/media/indigenous-l ... as-project ] and its potential impacts on resource development in Canada. Panelists Naiomi Metallic and Patti Doyle-Bedwell, both trained lawyers, spoke about the declaration from personal and professional perspectives. As you might imagine there is a lot to be said about how UNDRIP could impact resource development in Canada, but I drew a few key lessons from their talk. (If you didn’t get to attend or watch the live stream, you can see the recording here: [ https://www.facebook.com/events/1820967 ... discussion ]).

One of the articles of UNDRIP declares the right to free, prior, and informed consent. This phrase is far more powerful than I previously understood it to be. Under current Canadian law, the crown has a duty to consult with Indigenous peoples about matters that affect them, for example, a large industrial project. The key here, as Naiomi Metallic pointed out, is that this is a commitment to a process, not an outcome. If UNDRIP was meaningfully implemented, that would mean the crown would have to commit not just to process of consultation, but to the "outcome of consent". [ https://www.localxpress.ca/local-news/d ... ues-572075 ]

This seems so simple, but it was transformative to hear articulated so clearly. This lesson has been staying with me as I hosted the second event, Protectors [ https://www.facebook.com/events/1820967 ... discussion ]: cross movement resistance to Alton Gas town hall [ http://canadians.org/media/indigenous-l ... as-project ] (this is part of a tour with more events coming up!). The idea of consultation vs. consent was central to the first discussion in Halifax on Monday.

It’s clear that the idea and the value of consent is understood very differently by the Canadian and provincial governments, and Indigenous nations. While the government can complete consultation and carry on, Mi’kmaq activists know that even if the government gives permission for a project like Alton Gas, the people will fight until the bitter end to see it stopped. As one of the town hall speakers Dorene Bernard said, “If Alton Gas or the province had some and consulted us in 2003 when they started thinking about the project, they would have heard us say ‘no way’ and could have saved themselves 35 million dollars.”

I was reminded that of course consultation should happen between governments – that means the government should conduct consultation with the Mi’kmaq nation, not the company or the provincial government. Jim Maloney, war chief of the Sipekne’katik district, said on Monday, “Alton Gas or any corporation doesn’t have the authority to consult with an Indigenous nation, it has to be a government to government process. For the provincial government to direct a corporation like Alton Gas to conduct consultation right from the start is wrong. Why would we talk to a corporation?”

A popular question at the town hall was how people could support the movement to stop Alton Gas. All the speakers agreed that the growing alliances between Mi’kmaq and non-Indigenous people are a key element of the movement’s success so far. “What we have is experience, and what you have is education. That’s a great combination,” said Jim Maloney.

These are just a few prominent moments of the last few weeks of work, and I’m sure I’ll continue reflecting and learning as the rest of the Stop Alton gas town hall tour unfolds.

You can watch the UNDRIP panel discussion here: [ https://www.facebook.com/events/1861683 ... discussion ]

and the Stop Alton Gas town hall here: [ https://www.facebook.com/events/1820967 ... discussion ]

Stay tuned for the Antigonish Stop Alton Gas town hall on Thursday March 30th, and future events that are in the works!
[ https://www.facebook.com/events/1830902027155529/ ]


Tags:

Alton Gas
[ http://canadians.org/tags/alton-gas ]

Water
[ http://canadians.org/tags/water ]

UNDRIP
[ http://canadians.org/tags/undrip ]

climate
[ http://canadians.org/tags/climate ]

Robin Tress's blog
Council of Canadians' Atlantic Regional Organizing Assistant
[ http://canadians.org/blogs/robin-tress ]
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Re: ALTON GAS (NS): a potential disaster in slow motion

Postby Oscar » Thu Mar 30, 2017 4:02 pm

Council to hold public forum with water protectors defending the Shubenacadie River

[ https://canadians.org/blog/council-hold ... adie-river ]

March 30, 2017 - 7:40 am

(PHOTO: Sipekne'katik war chief Jim Maloney, water protector Dorene Bernard, Treaty Truckhouse organizer Dale Poullette, Council of Canadians organizer Robin Tress. Photo by Council of Canadians organizer Angela Giles.)


The Council of Canadians has organized two recent public forums on the Alton Gas Natural Gas Storage Project in Nova Scotia (Alton Gas, Site C, and Indigenous Consent on March 21, and Stop Alton Gas Town Hall Tour - Halifax on March 27) and will hold a third public forum this evening in Antigonish. Halifax-based Council of Canadians organizer Robin Tress is both organizing and hosting these events.

Alton Natural Gas Storage LP, a subsidiary of Calgary-based AltaGas Ltd., wants to build underground caverns to store natural gas near the Shubenacadie River on Sipekne’katik territory near the rural communities of Alton and Stewiake, which are situated about 75 kilometres north of Halifax.

The outreach for tonight's public forum explains, "Mi’kmaq and non-Indigenous communities near the Shubenacadie River have been organizing resistance to the planned Alton Gas project for several years. This project would create massive underground natural gas storage caverns, see hundreds of thousands of tonnes of salt dumped into the Shubenacadie River in a matter of months, and would risk water contamination, methane leaks, and expansion of the fossil fuel industry in Atlantic Canada. The project was given the go ahead by the McNeil government despite a lack of consultation, multiple failures by the company, and clear and united opposition by the affected communities."

It also notes, "When confronted with their failure to gain consent for this project by the Sipekne’katik Band Council, the McNeil Government's lawyer declared the Sipekne’katik Mi’kmaq a 'conquered people', so their consent was not required for the project to go forward. A court decision on January 28th ruled otherwise, and has opened the way for Mi’kmaq and settler community members from across this province to speak out about protecting our rivers. The Protectors speaking tour focuses on how Alton Gas is a crisis at the intersection of movements to protect water, exercise Indigenous rights and culture, end further fossil fuel development, and strengthen public participation in environmental decision making."

The Stop Alton Gas Town Hall Tour features Dorene Bernard (Grassroots Grandmother, water protector, Mi'kma'ki water walk organizer) and Dale Poullette (Water protector, Treaty Truckhouse organizer). The public forum in Halifax on March 27 also featured Jim Maloney (Sipekne'katik war chief).

Local XPress reports, "Despite company assurances that gradually releasing 1.3 million cubic metres of salt into the river system over a two- to three-year period would not significantly change the salinity level of the Fundy tidal river, the Mi’kmaq and other project detractors say that it will negatively affect all of the fish and plant species in the river system. Poulette said a lot of projects will negatively affect the environment and the people if somebody doesn’t stand up against them."

That article adds, "Maloney said company musings about more than a dozen caverns on the 80 hectares of land purchased in Brentwood just do not make sense. 'For anybody to believe that you can put 20 caverns under the ground and pump that much salt into the river and everything would be good, it’s no wonder they don’t want consultation', Maloney said. 'Who would believe that? Homeowners and Mi’kmaq wouldn’t agree to it. If the fish could talk, they wouldn’t agree to it either.'"

And it notes, "Bernard said Alton Gas and other similar projects are forms of environmental racism. 'As women, it’s our cultural responsibility to protect the water for everyone', Bernard said. Her fear is that the Alton Gas project would lead to more caverns and possible fracking of gas in the Gays River area. 'We have to cut off the head of the snake now', she said. 'What we do today is for future generations. We don’t want their (Alton Gas) money, a million dollars for a hockey rink or an elders home. We want them to go.'"

For a blog about the Alton Gas, Site C, and Indigenous Consent public forum, please click here:
[ http://canadians.org/blog/council-canad ... rip-canada ]

For Tress' blog on the Alton Gas Town Hall in Halifax earlier this week, click here:
[ http://canadians.org/blog/treaty-truckh ... -hall-tour ]

To see the Facebook promotion for tonight's event, click here:
[ https://www.facebook.com/events/1830902027155529/ ]

For numerous blogs about the Alton Gas situation, click here:
[ http://canadians.org/search/node/alton%20gas ]

The Council of Canadians has been working with allies in opposition to the Alton Gas project since November 2014.

Brent Patterson's blog
Political Director of the Council of Canadians
[ https://canadians.org/blogs/brent-patterson ]
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Re: ALTON GAS (NS): a potential disaster in slow motion

Postby Oscar » Tue May 02, 2017 10:16 am

Stop Alton Gas town hall video

[ https://canadians.org/blog/stop-alton-g ... hall-video ]

May 2, 2017 - 9:46 am

The Council of Canadians has been supporting grassroots Mi'kmaq activists and non-Indigenous communities fighting the Alton Gas storage project for several years. Along with many other individuals and groups, we're in the middle of a town hall tour designed to share information about the project and empower people to join the fight against Alton Gas.

Watch this new video for the highlights of the tour [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lobI_OH ... e=youtu.be ], and check out the links in the description for more information.

The Alton Gas project is a proposed natural gas storage project near Stewiacke, Nova Scotia. The company, AltaGas, intends to create caverns in an existing salt deposit about 1km underground in order to store natural gas at pressures of about 108 atmospheres. Through the construction, operation, and abandonment of this project there are risks to water, our climate and energy systems, Indigenous rights, and our collectives right to a healthy environment.

To read more about the risks of the project, see our blog on the topic:
[ https://canadians.org/blog/unacceptable ... as-storage ]

To learn about the inadequate environmental assessments surrounding the Alton Gas project, click here:
[ https://www.localxpress.ca/local-news/s ... ite-417258 ]

To hear about Sipekne'katik First Nation's court case regarding Alton Gas and the shameful performance of the provincial government, click here: (Subscription Required) [ http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/nat ... e32895186/ ]

More town hall events are coming up in Sipekne'katik on May 11 [ https://www.facebook.com/events/1717732415185289/ ] and Mahone Bay on May 12 [ https://www.facebook.com/events/306724153095661/ ]!

#stopaltongas


Tags: Stop Alton Gas
[ https://canadians.org/tags/stop-alton-gas ]


Robin Tress's blog
Council of Canadians Atlantic Regional Organizing Assistant
[ https://canadians.org/blogs/robin-tress ]
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Re: ALTON GAS (NS): a potential disaster in slow motion

Postby Oscar » Wed May 10, 2017 10:57 am

South Shore chapter to hold public forum on Alton Gas storage project, May 12

[ https://canadians.org/blog/south-shore- ... ect-may-12 ]

May 6, 2017 - 12:42 pm

(PHOTO: Treaty Truckhouse organizer Dale Poulette and Grassroots Grandmother Dorene Bernard.)

The Council of Canadians South Shore chapter, along with frontline water protectors and the Canada Research Chair for Sustainability and Social Change, will be holding a public forum in Mahone Bay on May 12.

Chapter activist Charlene Morton has posted on Facebook, "Join protectors Dorene Bernard, grassroots grandmother; Dale Poulette, Treaty Truckhouse organizer; and Alan Knockwood, Sipekne’katik elder to learn about their struggle to protect the water, climate, Indigenous rights, and environmental rights by stopping the Alton Gas Project."

Alton Natural Gas Storage LP, a subsidiary of Calgary-based AltaGas Ltd., wants to build underground caverns to store natural gas near the Shubenacadie River on Sipekne’katik territory near the rural communities of Alton and Stewiake, which are situated about 75 kilometres north of Halifax.

The Facebook post notes, "The project was given the go ahead by the Nova Scotia government despite a lack of consultation, multiple failures by the company, and clear and united opposition by the affected communities. When confronted with their failure to gain consent for this project by the Sipekne’katik Band Council, the [Premier Stephen] McNeil Government declared the Sipekne’katik Mi’kmaq a 'conquered people', so their consent was not required for the project to go forward. A court decision on January 28th ruled otherwise, and has opened the way for Mi’kmaq and settler community members from across this province to speak out about protecting our rivers."

Halifax-based Council of Canadians organizer Robin Tress has noted, "Along with many other individuals and groups, we're in the middle of a town hall tour designed to share information about the project and empower people to join the fight against Alton Gas." The speaking tour has already been to Halifax (March 27) and Antigonish (April 5). The speaking tour will be in Sipekne'katik (May 11) then Mahone Bay (May 12).

A provincial election is now underway in Nova Scotia. Voters will go to the polls on May 30.

The Council of Canadians has ben working with allies in opposition to the Alton Gas project since November 2014.

To see a 6-minute video about this struggle, please click here:
[ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lobI_OH ... e=youtu.be ]


#stopaltongas


Tags: chapters
[ https://canadians.org/tags/chapters ]

Brent Patterson's blog
Political Director of the Council of Canadians
[ https://canadians.org/blogs/brent-patterson ]
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Re: ALTON GAS (NS): a potential disaster in slow motion

Postby Oscar » Sat May 13, 2017 7:35 am

Treaty truckhouse update: understanding decolonization through food

[ https://canadians.org/blog/treaty-truck ... rough-food ]

May 12, 2017 - 3:29 pm

Last night I participated in a town hall against Alton Gas in Sipekne’katik (Indian Brook First Nation), as part of a town hall tour on the topic. We started off with a dinner for all participants, and the food could not have been more fitting for the occasion. We ate a striped bass that Dale Poulette caught from the Shubenacadie River – one of two rivers threatened by the Alton Gas project.

I could talk at length about this lengthy fish – it was a flaky, juicy, 100% yummy, fresh bass that fed 25 people with leftovers to spare. It was proof to all the senses that the Shubenacadie is alive, and that it provides for Mi’kmaq and settlers alike.

As we digested our meals, the panel spoke not only about Alton Gas but the need to decolonize our work, our communities, and our understanding of how we use and share this land. Elder Alan Knockwood, grassroots grandmother Dorene Bernard, and treaty rights holder Michelle Paul spoke alongside Dale and shared their perspectives on this project.

People say you are what you eat, and as the fish in my belly slowly became part of me I gained a new understanding of what it means to say ‘water is life’. The Shubenacadie’s waters sustain life, they connect life – now it sustained and connected my body, that bass, and the whole river ecosystem.

To me this fish is food, but it’s also an idea that there is a different and better way to live on this land. People have thrived here for millennia, and they have done so by being responsible stewards of the land, not owners or abusers of it. The laws that make projects like Alton Gas acceptable in the eyes of the Nova Scotia government are not rooted in this spirit of stewardship and care. They are rooted in colonial and capitalist values of profit and domination. To approve the Alton Gas project is a demonstration of the lack of understanding of the real value of the Shubenacadie River.

What I heard from the speakers last night is when fighting things like Alton Gas, fracking, pipelines and other environmentally-destructive industries, Mi’kmaq and Indigenous people across Turtle Island (North America) are really fighting the concept of colonization and trying to build back people’s values and practice of stewardship and living in line with treaty. As a non-indigenous participant in this fight, I am still learning what living in line with treaty even means, but this meal makes a little easier to conceptualize.

This bass depended on the Shubenacadie River, it was caught by a Mi’kmaw fisherman, and shared with Mi’kmaq and non-Indigenous peoples coming together to figure out how to protect the water we all depend on. To me, this is a microcosm of the peace and friendship that the treaties were supposed to enable.

To learn more about the fight to Stop Alton Gas read our blogs [ https://canadians.org/blog/unacceptable ... as-storage ] or join the Stop Alton Gas Facebook group! [ https://www.facebook.com/groups/313623962149213/ ]

Thanks to the grassroots people fighting Alton Gas and protecting water for all of us, and thanks to the Dartmouth North Community Food Centre [ http://www.dartmouthfamilycentre.ca/com ... od-centre/ ] for some great potato salad to go beside our bass!



Robin Tress's blog
Council of Canadians Atlantic Regional Organizing Assistant
[ https://canadians.org/blogs/robin-tress ]
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Re: ALTON GAS (NS): a potential disaster in slow motion

Postby Oscar » Sat May 13, 2017 10:34 am

South Shore chapter holds public forum on stopping the Alton Gas storage project

[ https://canadians.org/blog/south-shore- ... ge-project ]

May 13, 2017 - 11:38 am

The Council of Canadians South Shore chapter held a public forum last night on the controversial Alton Gas storage project.

Chapter activist Charlene Morton had posted on Facebook, "Join protectors Dorene Bernard, grassroots grandmother; Dale Poulette, Treaty Truckhouse organizer; and Alan Knockwood, Sipekne’katik elder to learn about their struggle to protect the water, climate, Indigenous rights, and environmental rights by stopping the Alton Gas Project."

Alton Natural Gas Storage LP, a subsidiary of Calgary-based AltaGas Ltd., wants to build underground caverns to store natural gas near the Shubenacadie River on Sipekne’katik territory near the rural communities of Alton and Stewiake, which are situated about 75 kilometres north of Halifax.

Morton's Facebook post explains, "The project was given the go ahead by the Nova Scotia government despite a lack of consultation, multiple failures by the company, and clear and united opposition by the affected communities. When confronted with their failure to gain consent for this project by the Sipekne’katik Band Council, the [Premier Stephen] McNeil Government declared the Sipekne’katik Mi’kmaq a 'conquered people', so their consent was not required for the project to go forward. A court decision on January 28th ruled otherwise, and has opened the way for Mi’kmaq and settler community members from across this province to speak out about protecting our rivers."

Halifax-based Council of Canadians organizer Robin Tress has noted, "Along with many other individuals and groups, we're in the middle of a town hall tour designed to share information about the project and empower people to join the fight against Alton Gas." The speaking tour has already been to Halifax (March 27) and Antigonish (April 5). To read Tress' blog about the recent tour stop in Sipekne'katik (May 11), please click here: [ https://canadians.org/blog/treaty-truck ... rough-food ]

A provincial election is now underway in Nova Scotia. Voters will go to the polls on May 30. We are calling on chapter activists and the broader public to ask candidates running in this election:

1- What would your government do specifically about the issue of the proposed Alton Gas project?
2- What would you do to better protect our rights, our water, and our climate from unnecessary projects like Alton Gas?

The Council of Canadians has been working with allies in opposition to the Alton Gas project since November 2014.

#stopaltongas


Tags: chapters
[ https://canadians.org/tags/chapters ]

Brent Patterson's blog
Political Director of the Council of Canadians
[ https://canadians.org/blogs/brent-patterson ]
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Re: ALTON GAS (NS): a potential disaster in slow motion

Postby Oscar » Sat May 13, 2017 2:51 pm

Indigenous leaders and allies call on candidates to stop Alton Gas project

[ https://canadians.org/media/indigenous- ... as-project ]

Media Release May 12, 2017

Groups call for public action to defend water, climate and Indigenous rights

MAHONE BAY – Just in time for the election, frontline water defenders will gather this evening to talk about the major changes needed to defend land, water and our collective rights in Nova Scotia. They will share stories of corporate trickery, modern impacts of colonization and struggles to protect their communities from the expansion of a toxic industry. They will be talking about the Alton Gas project.

The speakers, including Sipekne’katik elder and pipe carrier Alan Knockwood, Treaty Truckhouse resident Dale Poulette, and treaty rights-holder Michelle Paul, have been working across Nova Scotia to educate people about the project’s major threats to water, climate, energy, and Indigenous rights.

“The only thing we gave up when we signed the treaty was war,” says Knockwood. He argues that Mi’kmaq have the right and responsibility to act as stewards of the land, but that right is consistently overlooked by the provincial and federal governments in approving dangerous and unsustainable projects like Alton Gas.

“This is as much about Alton Gas as it is about decolonization,” says Paul. “Things like Alton Gas get approved after consultation, but that consultation is done through Indian Act structures. The people being consulted are not the grassroots rights holders. Canada needs to decolonize its idea of consultation, and who needs to be consulted in projects like these.”

“Corporations like to do dirty tricks on First Nations, and just about everyone,” Poulette said at a town hall in Halifax. He has lived beside the Alton Gas site for eight months and was part of the fracking resistance in Elsipogtog. “It’s hard to stop these guys without allies, so we’re looking for more allies to help us fight these corporations. They come here for our natural resources, and we’ll fight them with prayer and with information.”

Local organizers are encouraging people to participate in the many efforts to stop the Alton Gas project by joining the Peace and Friendship Alliance, a group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people working together for reconciliation, decolonization, and protection of our shared waters. The Alliance meets next on June 4 at the Treaty Truckhouse. [ https://stopaltongas.wordpress.com/trea ... ruckhouse/ ]

“Alton Gas exposes the many issues with the way Nova Scotia currently handles environmental, water and rights issues. It’s a perfect example of why our next government needs to implement an Environmental Bill of Rights as a tool for environmental justice,” says Robin Tress of the Council of Canadians, an organizer of the town hall tour. -30-

Contact:

Robin Tress, rtress@canadians.org, 902-223-8526

More information on Alton Gas:

The proposed natural gas storage project would involve creating underground salt caverns near Stewiacke, and discharging the resulting salt brine into the Shubenacadie River. While the provincial government has approved this project, neighbours have been fighting to stop it since 2012. In 2016, Sipekne’katik launched a legal challenge at the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia on the grounds of the Crown’s failure to consult. In January 2017, the court found in Sipekne’katik’s favour and required further consultation by the province.

The panel discussion on Friday night is part of a town hall tour to stop the Alton Gas project. [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lobI_OHr_sw&t=6s ] There have already been town halls in Halifax, Antigonish and Sipekne’katik, with more to come.
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Re: ALTON GAS (NS): a potential disaster in slow motion

Postby Oscar » Wed May 17, 2017 7:37 am

WIN! Council of Canadians celebrates defeat of Seneca Lake gas storage project

[ https://canadians.org/blog/win-council- ... ge-project ]

May 16, 2017 - 1:16 pm

The Council of Canadians is celebrating the end of the Seneca Lake methane gas storage proposal in New York state - and hopes this win will bolster the ongoing efforts to stop a similar gas storage project in Nova Scotia.

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow, who spoke against fracking and water grabs in the Finger Lakes area in November 2014, has just tweeted, "This is a huge victory! So exciting! Congratulations!"

On May 10, the Elmira Star Gazette reported, "Arlington Storage Co., a subsidiary of Crestwood Midstream Partners, is abandoning controversial plans to expand natural gas storage in salt caverns along Seneca Lake. Numerous municipalities have gone on record opposing Crestwood's gas storage plans, and hundreds of residents have gone to court to face trespassing and other charges after protests outside Crestwood's facility in the Schuyler County Town of Reading."

EcoWatch highlights, "Seneca Lake serves as a source of drinking water for 100,000 people. Even absent earthquakes or catastrophic accidents, simply pressurizing the briny salt caverns with compressed gases may salinate the lake in ways that could potentially violate drinking water standards."

In this January 2016 blog - The Unacceptable Risk of Alton Gas Storage [ https://canadians.org/blog/unacceptable ... as-storage ] - Council of Canadians organizer Tori Ball linked the Seneca Lake proposal to the Alton Gas storage proposal that we continue to oppose in Nova Scotia.

Alton Natural Gas Storage LP, a subsidiary of Calgary-based AltaGas Ltd., wants to build underground caverns to store natural gas near the Shubenacadie River on Sipekne’katik territory near the rural communities of Alton and Stewiake, which are situated about 75 kilometres north of Halifax.

Ball wrote, "An independent quantitative risk analysis done in 2015 by Rob Mackenzie for a similar project in Seneca Lake looked at the risk of underground hydrocarbon storage, including salt cavern storage. His risk analysis concluded that salt cavern storage poses an unacceptable risk due to the medium likelihood and extremely serious to serious consequences."

And Ball highlighted, "As of 2013 there were 40 underground natural gas storage facilities in the United States. Of these, there have been 20 serious or extremely serious incidents between 1972 to 2012."

We extend our congratulations to those who won an important struggle in New York state and we recommit ourselves to continue to work with Indigenous and community allies in the struggle to stop the Alton Gas storage project.

Council of Canadians organizer Robin Tress recently organized a speaking tour in opposition to Alton Gas with stops in Halifax (March 27), Antigonish (April 5), Sipekne'katik (May 11), and Mahone Bay (May 12).

Now that a provincial election is underway in Nova Scotia (with voting day on May 30), we are calling on chapter activists and the broader public to ask candidates running in this election the following questions:

1- What would your government do specifically about the issue of the proposed Alton Gas project?

2- What would you do to better protect our rights, our water, and our climate from unnecessary projects like Alton Gas?

The Council of Canadians has been working with allies to stop the Alton Gas project since November 2014.


#stopaltongas

Brent Patterson's blog
Political Director of the Council of Canadians
[ https://canadians.org/blogs/brent-patterson ]
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Re: ALTON GAS (NS): a potential disaster in slow motion

Postby Oscar » Thu May 25, 2017 6:01 pm

No Green Light for Alton Gas

[ https://canadians.org/blog/no-green-light-alton-gas ]

May 25, 2017 - 6:36 pm

As the construction season is beginning and Alton Gas workers have been appearing on site again, there has been a lot of talk about the company’s permits. A number of permits and permissions have been granted, but a number of conditions of the project have yet to be met.

People have been fighting Alton Gas for years, rain or shine, and are showing no signs of slowing! Photo: April Maloney

Summary:

•Alton Gas does not have all the permissions necessary to complete the project. They may not start brining until these conditions are met.

•The mixing channel is full of mud, and this means that a key condition of one approval is not complete. Alton Gas has not made a plan to make their brine mixing plan work, or had that plan approved by the appropriate government bodies.

•The gas pipeline side of the project has not yet met any of the conditions of its approval.

•Alton Gas is not a done deal.

First, remember that the project was split into two parts for environmental assessment (EA) purposes - the creation of the caverns is one assessment, and the pipeline and movement of natural gas is the other. It’s worth stating here that this is not the way environmental assessments are usually done - the Environment Act is based on a ‘one project, one assessment’ principle. So splitting this project in two is already unusual.

The cavern EA was approved in 2007 with conditions, and the pipeline EA was approved in 2013 with conditions. These conditions are critical, and they must be met before the company can go forward with a few key pieces of work. To be clear, to date these conditions have not been met.

While it is true that Alton Gas was granted an ‘operational permit’ to start the work of creating the caverns (this is the ‘brining’ everyone talks about), they have failed to meet a major condition of the general approval, which was to manage salinity levels. In other words, the project’s approval is conditional upon Alton Gas’s ability to dilute the brine. [ https://www.novascotia.ca/nse/ea/Alton/ ... proval.pdf ]

The mixing channel intended to dilute the brine is full of mud, and as a result can’t do its job. So even though it is technically true Alton Gas has the permit to continue, they still have to solve the dilution problem to meet this condition of the approval. And that’s just the policy side of things - in reality, the brine outflow pipes are buried in mud, so Alton Gas has a major physical barrier to starting brining.

The gas pipeline side of the project has even more conditions that need to be met. There are about a dozen conditions on this side of the project, some of which include major discussions with the provincial government about things like wetland alterations and studies, Crown land agreements, groundwater studies, emergency planning, and wilderness area compensation. None of these conditions have been met yet. Most of them will take months of discussion to complete, and there are opportunities for us to engage in some of the discussions.

Beyond the conditions of the environmental assessments, the Utility and Review Board (UARB) presents some more hoops for Alton Gas to jump through. This is a body that regulates utilities like power and oil & gas, and has some power to adjudicate, or make judgements about how to address certain issues or right certain wrongs related to utilities. Alton Gas has to go through a process to gain the UARB’s approval for the pipeline, and this process will include public hearings and participation.

Alton Gas does not have all the permits to go ahead with their work, and they have not met the conditions of the approval granted by Nova Scotia Environment to create the caverns. Aside from permits, they have not received consent from treaty rights holders in the Sipekne’katik district of Mi’kma’ki, and have done nothing to address the many risks of this project. [ https://canadians.org/blog/unacceptable ... as-storage ] Furthermore, we believe that this project is a risk to our water, climate, and collective rights, and we will continue supporting grassroots Mi'kmaq and non-Indigenous activists until we succeed in stopping this project.

Join us in our ongoing resistance against Alton Gas! Join the Facebook group for updates [ https://www.facebook.com/groups/313623962149213/ ], attend the fundraiser on May 26th [ https://www.facebook.com/events/123069784930692/ ], and come to the Peace and Friendship Alliance meeting on June 3rd to help plan our next steps. [ https://www.facebook.com/groups/Peacean ... llianceNS/ ]


Robin Tress's blog
Council of Canadians Atlantic Regional Organizing Assistant
[ https://canadians.org/blogs/robin-tress ]
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Re: ALTON GAS (NS): a potential disaster in slow motion

Postby Oscar » Sun Jun 11, 2017 9:55 am

Truckhouse Solidarity Tent brings Alton Gas resistance to Halifax

[ https://canadians.org/blog/truckhouse-s ... ce-halifax ]

June 6, 2017 - 9:13 am

(PHOTO: People paint a banner at the Truckhouse Solidarity Tent in Halifax on May 31 2017. Photo: Local Xpress)

On Wednesday, following Nova Scotia’s provincial election, Solidarity With Alton Gas Resistance (SWAGR) hosted the first Truckhouse Solidarty Tent in Halifax. The purpose of this tent was to create a space in Halifax for people to gather, learn about Alton Gas, and act in resistance together – similar to what the truckhouse on the Shubenacadie River is often used for.

A truckhouse is building used for trade, and has an important history. Having a truckhouse on the Shubenacadie River is a Mi’kmaq right protected by the Peace and Friendship treaties of the 1700s. In the summer of 2016, Mi’kmaq in the Sipekne'katik district, supported by non-Indigenous friends, built a truckhouse to both directly exercise a treaty right and to maintain a constant presence on the river next to the Alton Gas project site. Since then, the truckhouse has become a hub of the Stop Alton Gas movement.

The Local Xpress reported on the truckhouse solidarity tent:
[ https://www.localxpress.ca/local-news/a ... eal-633918 ]

Robin Tress, of the Council of Canadians, and members of SWAGR… set up shop on a midweek evening in front of the Halifax Central Library on Spring Garden Road to share information about the perceived dangers of the project.

“This project exposes a huge amount of risk to water, huge risk to climate and our energy system and it completely disregards indigenous rights,” Tress said as passersby stopped to ask questions and look at photos of the truck house gathering place that the Mi’kmaq community built just beyond the company’s fences at the river site.

“Every stage of the project risks water in its own special way,” Tress said. “Making the caverns produces a huge amount of salt brine which is saltier than seawater. It has to be pumped across farmers’ fields through a pipeline and then be pumped into the Shubenacadie River. That on its own is risking the river and the land that the pipeline is going over because if it bursts, then you have a farm full of salt.”

She said when the caverns are created, they will be filled with high-pressure natural gas with a good possibility of leakage into the groundwater system.

“In North America, projects like this have a 60 per cent fail rate. Gas is leaking at some point, something is catching on fire, something is going quite seriously wrong. Why would we take those chances here?

“My question is how many jobs is this project going to create versus how many is it going to risk. There are already people working in fishing, there are already people who have businesses in that area. How many of those actual jobs that exist today will be at risk or will be lost because of this project.”

(The truckhouse solidarity tent created space in Halifax to meet and discuss the many issues with the Alton Gas project, and to demonstrate solidarity with frontline water protectors on the Shubenacadie River. Photo: Local Xpress.)

For more information on the Alton Gas project and our ongoing opposition to it, read our other blogs on the topic or visit
[ https://stopaltongas.wordpress.com/ ]
[ https://canadians.org/blog/unacceptable ... as-storage ]
[ https://canadians.org/tags/alton-gas ]


Tags: Alton Gas
[ https://canadians.org/tags/alton-gas ]


Robin Tress's blog
Council of Canadians' Atlantic Regional Organizing Assistant
[ https://canadians.org/blogs/robin-tress ]
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