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Stanstead Journal
July 15 1998

Another scar on the land

Ross Murray
Stanstead, Quebec

Not many besides those directly affected by its passage bothered to man the barricades against the TQM gas pipeline now being bulldozed through this region. Opponents' warnings about safety and environmental problems were drowned out by the drone of tedious technical hearings and red-tape wrangling that went on for months. On top of this, there was a lack of immediate threat to a population that for the most part sees natural gas as a safe product.

Not to say that the public wasn't rooting for landowners along the proposed pipeline route - underdogs up against arrogant bureaucratic giants. (Construction has begun despite the fact that new hearings by the National Energy Board are to be held in Orford July 22 to discuss more than two dozen route details. Last week, TransQuebec & Maritimes president Robert Turgeon practically laughed off these hearings and the pipeline's opponents, saying they won't in the least affect the completion of the line to East Hereford, an inexcusably snotty gesture from a rich and powerful man.)

Public opinion might have swung more in favor of blocking a pipeline through this region, however, had people seen what workers are now doing to our landscape. Great swaths of trees, earth, and rock are being uprooted by workers (most from outside the region, it should be noted) creating an ugly scar, a veritable extension of urban blight in our midst.

It's too late now. Through its war of attrition, big business has got its way. The long desolate corridor will be a reminder for years to come that we could have done more.

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