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PNGTS Extension Completed?

Wait a sec! Construction on the PNGTS Extension hasn't even Begun!

The visual similarity between Microsoft's Windows95 ads and the most recent TQM Pipeline advertisement ("Respect for the environment") in local English papers is striking. And after reading TQM's ad one has to wonder if TQM, like Microsoft, thinks that they're so big that they can get away with anything.

TQM's ad informs us that its PNGTS Extension natural gas pipeline project through the Eastern Townships has been carried out and that all is well:

"During construction work on the project, extensive measures were taken to protect sugar bushes, forests, farmlands and river crossings in order to ease the concerns of affected landowners."

Although there's nothing TQM would like more than for us all to go to sleep, citizens of our region should be aware that

  1. Construction on the TQM pipeline project has not yet begun, and
  2. That few, if any concerns of affected landowners have been eased.

Furthermore, if the Quebec government respects the recommendations of its own public hearings commission, the project will be required to avoid entirely the Memphremagog MRC and East Hereford.

Readers should examine critically all of TQM's claims concerning their project and our environment. On November 6th , after conducting public hearings throughout the summer, the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement (BAPE) released a highly critical report on the proposed TQM PNGTS Extension project. The commission deplored the absence of preliminary plant and animal inventories on the proposed route and found that there are legitimate doubts about the promoter's capacity to carry out environmental mitigation measures as well as other aspects of the project, including the application of safety measures.

The commission also questions the promoter's frequent claims that their project qualifies as sustainable development and that it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and acid rain in Quebec. Sustainable development, according to the commission, means reducing the consumption of non-renewable energy, not increasing it.

As to reducing acid rain in Quebec, the commission points out that a widespread increase in the use of natural gas in Quebec would likely result in increased greenhouse gases and acid rain because it would displace hydroelectricity, an energy source that produces none of the greenhouse gases, nitric oxide, or sulfuric acid. What does Hydro-Quebec (owner of Metropolitain Gaz which is the owner of TQM) have in mind? Do they want to sell us natural gas so they can export cleaner hydroelectricity to the United States? This is no way to improve our environment, and it is no way for Quebec to live up to international commitments given by Canada to reduce atmospheric pollution.

The commission also points out that while it is true that natural gas combusts with less carbon dioxide emissions than other fossil fuels, it is composed almost entirely of methane which unit per unit has a much more detrimental effect upon the atmosphere than the other greenhouse gases. Methane is released during the gathering, processing, transportation, and distribution of natural gas.

The BAPE commission's report also extensively documents the widespread and flagrant abuses of landowners by TQM and its representatives: abuses that continued unabated even after TQM representatives apologized in front of the BAPE commission and promised to desist.

The Memphremagog MRC, Sainte Catherine de Hatley, Ayer's Cliff, and South Stuckley have all passed resolutions rejecting this project in their territories. "No thank you, TQM, non, merci".

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