Premiere Gallant to MAXIMIZE Energy East

17 10 2014
Premier plans Alberta trip to maximize possible benefits from development of Energy East

SAINT ANDREWS • Premier Brian Gallant says he’ll promote the benefits of Energy East across the country in the face of environmental concerns and big industry efforts in Ontario and Quebec to kill the pipeline project.   At a news conference in this seaside resort town on Thursday, Gallant said he’d travel to Alberta next week to find outways New Brunswick firms and workers could benefit from some of the potential development, including any spinoffs the flow of oil could create.   He also wants to champion the cause across the country.   “I’m quite confident we can do the Energy East pipeline in a very sustainable way,”the Liberal premier said.“I’m also very convinced the economic benefits are very exciting for our country and our province. So I’m going to go around and speak to other provinces and within our province,to New Brunswickers,as to why this is important and how it can help us grow the economy in this country,how this can create jobs.That’s exactly why I am going to Alberta, to start right at the source to make the case as to why it’s important the pipeline makes its way to New Brunswick and greater Saint John”   Environmentalists were successful last month at delaying work at one of two proposed export terminals TransCanada wants to build as part of the $12-billion project. They applied and were granted a temporary injunction to stop exploratory drilling by the Calgary-based energy firm at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River.   The company wants to drill soil samples on the riverbed near Cacouna, Que., close to where endangered beluga whales give birth to their calves. The Quebec Superior Court injunction was to expire at midnight Thursday,now that the calving season is over. However, last week, the Quebec Ministry of Environment issued a non-compliance advisory to the company stating its mitigation efforts had to be improved before the geotechnical work goes ahead.   The firm was to submit a new work proposal to the ministry Wednesday at 8 p.m., and must wait until it is reviewed and signed off by government officials.   TransCanada’s headaches don’t end there. It also must receive federal regulatory approval for reversing an old natural gas line to flow oil and build new sections of pipeline through parts of Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick.   Several big industrial natural gas users in Ontario and Quebec have already lined up against the project, saying they must be assured of a steady supply of gas. TransCanada wants to reverse the line because it’s currently underused and the glut of gas on the market thanks to shale development in the United States makes the fuel less profitable.   Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper supports Energy East as a means of piping Western crude to refineries and export terminals in Eastern Canada, including the Irving Oil refinery in Saint John.“Irving Oil appreciates the leadership demonstrated by Premier Gallant and Minister Arsenault in their work to showcase the real and significant benefits of the Energy East project,” Samantha Robinson, director, public affairs for Irving Oil, said in an emailed statement. “We believe Energy East will enhance Canada’s overall economy, in addition to being good for Canadian producers, refiners and consumers. We look forward to working with our joint venture partner, TransCanada, the Government of New Brunswick, and with other stakeholders to realize these benefits.”   There are bottlenecks for western oil because other pipeline proposals have been delayed or failed – including the Keystone XL project that would have piped crude to Texas, and the Northern Gateway project that would have sent the oil to Canada’s West Coast.   The Green Party of New Brunswick led by newly elected MLA David Coon opposes Energy East, as do other big environment groups such as the Council of Canadians. They say there’s too great a risk of oil spills and further development of the oilsands will release more greenhouse gases that pose a danger to the planet.   Gallant doesn’t buy those arguments.   “This has economic benefits that we need as a province and will help our country,” he told the reporters outside the Algonquin Signature Golf Course Clubhouse, where his cabinet and caucus were meeting for the day.   “This is an industry we understand and we’ve been regulating for many years. It’s one we know how to mitigate the risks and make sure we benefit as much as possible. The oil industry is an important industry to our country and province. Diversifying our markets makes sense.   “On top of that, I think it’s important for us to do it right, and when you look at the industry here in New Brunswick, we have decades and decades of economic opportunity coupled with a good environmental track record. So I believe this is something that should go ahead, and I’m going to make the case across the country that it should”   The premier will travel to Alberta next week with Energy Minister Donald Arseneault to investigate potential investments in New Brunswick related to the proposed project.   Energy East would see oil from Alberta and Saskatchewan shipped to refineries and export terminals in Quebec and New Brunswick through the longest pipeline in North America, more than 4,000 kilometres long. Following regulatory approval, the company hopes to have oil flowing to Saint John’s refinery by 2018.   Gallant and Arseneault will be in Alberta from Sunday to Wednesday. Their itinerary includes a tour of the Athabasca oil fields, a meeting with Alberta Premier Jim Prentice in Calgary, and a meeting with senior TransCanada officials in Calgary that will. . . [dropped quote]




One response

17 10 2014

Here we go again Mr Premier, on our four-year merry-go-round. You have just been elected in large part as a result of your wise stance on a moratorium on shale gas, based on the lack of evidence for its environmental and health safety. But where do you head on your very first out-of-province junket? To Alberta, to promote an equally dangerous energy proposal, the TransCanada Corp Energy East pipeline to pump bitumen from Alberta, ending up traversing the entire length of our province, from the Quebec border to the Bay of Fundy. And for what reason? To provide profit for Irving, with New Brunswickers getting precious few jobs, but taking all the risks of the inevitable spills. Perhaps you have been wooed by TransCanada’s stated 99.99% safety record, but you might wish to imagine what the 0.01% unsafety record could mean if you happened to live near the pipeline and ended up with bitumen in your back yard, and eventually in one of the many watercourses that it crosses on its way to the Irving refinery, all of which flow into the Saint John River. In the 10 minutes it could take to detect and stop the spill you would receive one million litres of bitumen, and there would be absolutely nothing you could do about it. And the risk would endure for succeeding generations. And this doesn’t consider the impact of the 99.99% which will end up contributing to climate change. Where will your wisdom lie then? And don’t bring up the old saw, “But what are the alternatives?” They are there, as evidenced by several much more forward-looking jurisdictions around the world. That’s where you should head on your next junket, but soon, please.
Sincerely, Norval Balch
Lakeville Corner, N.B.

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