Thunder Bay delays decision on proposed Energy East pipeline

Councillors debated the proposed Energy East pipeline Monday night in Thunder Bay, Ont., but no final decision was made on the city's stance on the project.

'Lake Superior, to me, is more important than any jobs,' Mayor Keith Hobbs says

Approximately 130 citizens converged on city hall in Thunder Bay Monday night to express their opposition to the proposed Energy East pipeline. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

Councillors debated the proposed Energy East pipeline Monday night in Thunder Bay, Ont., but no final decision was made on the city's stance on the project. 

The goal for city councillors was to reach a firm position on the issue, but that did not happen. Many politicians had concerns about how waterways would be protected, but details were scarce. 

Meanwhile, approximately 130 citizens converged on city hall to express their opposition to the proposed pipeline. Groups such as Citizens United for a Sustainable Planet were there to voice their concerns.

Mayor Keith Hobbs was also clear on his opposition to the project. 

"At this juncture, [I'm] totally opposed to this pipeline," the mayor said. "Lake Superior, to me, is more important than any jobs. I want jobs in this city, but water comes first. Water is life."

Coun. Shelby Ch'ng said she wasn't buying the argument that the pipeline would reduce the number of Canadian National (CN) freight trains carrying oil across the region. 

"The pipeline folks have no control over how many cars CN sends," Ch'ng said. "Bottom line is, the companies want to get their product to market."

Council agreed to delay a decision after Coun. Iain Angus put forward a motion to defer it.

The decision is now set back until after the National Energy Board reviews he pipeline proposal. Residents can now expect to wait months to years for Thunder Bay to establish a formal position on the project. 

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