Manitoba Electric Vehicle Association

Energy East pipeline – a threat to Manitoba’s drinking water?

Retired biophysicist Dennis LeNeveu authored an unsettling report, which was recently released by the Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition (MEJC). Here’s a brief summary of the CBC and Canadian Press coverage of that report.

A new report from the Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition says that a pipeline, which would carry one million barrels of oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to the east, would threaten the drinking water of over 60 per cent of Manitoba residents. MEJC member Dennis LeNeveu said the oil would be carried across Manitoba in a 40-year-old repurposed natural gas line, which can get corroded. He said such pipelines have ruptured four times in Manitoba in the last 20 years. The report said a rupture in the proposed Energy East pipeline would seep into any number of waterways which feed into Winnipeg’s water supply. Part of the line would run underneath the aqueduct which brings Winnipeg’s drinking water from Shoal Lake. According to LeNeveu, the entire length of Winnipeg’s aqueduct would be in danger of contamination from the nearby pipeline.

“Every township and section has roads with ditches that drain into streams or the drains that have been constructed around Winnipeg,” he wrote. “This means that valve closure on a major water crossing would not necessarily be effective, (because) a rupture on a minor water crossing could drain into Winnipeg.” He added, “Winnipeg has much to lose from the pipeline crossing within its boundaries and little to gain.”

There would also be “a significant risk of explosion” from a nearby natural gas line in Manitoba, LeNeveu said. Such an explosion could “easily be as large or larger” than the  explosion, which killed 47 people, when a train derailed in Lac Megantic, Que. “The smoke plume from such an explosion and fire could necessitate the immediate evacuation of the entire population of Winnipeg should it occur nearby.”

He claimed that, in the event of a large leak, the city of Winnipeg and Manitoba could be on the hook for cleanup costs.

LeNeveu said many other communities in Manitoba draw their water from rivers that intersect with the pipeline. Therefore, they would be vulnerable as well.

The retired biophysicist stated that any spill could also have a serious impact on Manitoba’s commercial fishery, farms and hunting.

Dennis LeNeveu discussed his report with MEVA members and visitors who attended our monthly meeting in May. MEVA members very sincerely thank Dennis and the Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition for passionately dedicating so much time and effort to try to keep Manitoba safe for all of us.

Now it’s your turn. Dennis stressed the need to address this issue immediately, and he presented a very compelling case. To learn more about the concerns raised by Dennis, and how you can become involved, go to the Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition website.


Most Manitobans recognize that we’re all responsible for preserving a healthy environment. But, to some folks, the enormity of such a responsibility seems overwhelming. However, our experience has shown that cooperating to achieve this goal can be fun. The Manitoba Electric Vehicle Association (MEVA) meets at 7:00 PM, on the last Thursday of every month, from January through November, usually in the University of Manitoba Engineering Building. Our meetings are always open to the public. So, please, join us.

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