Gallant in Alberta Pushing Energy East Pipeline

20 10 2014

CHRIS MORRIS LEGISLATURE BUREAU

FREDERICTON • Premier Brian Gallant and Energy Minister Don Arseneault are in Alberta this week to make it clear to everybody in the oil and gas sector they want the proposed Energy East pipeline to come to New Brunswick, as well as many other energy projects.

Gallant said in an interview at the Fredericton airport on Sunday, it is possible his Liberal government’s position on shale gas development and the planned moratorium on hydraulic fracturing will be discussed, but the prime thrust of the visit is TransCanada’s proposed $12-billion Energy East pipeline to bring western crude oil to Saint John.

“We think it is important to make sure that the business community and the premier of Alberta understand we are completely behind this and that we are going to do whatever we can to make sure the Energy East pipeline will make its way to New Brunswick and Saint John”Gallant said prior to his departure.

The visit to Alberta – Gallant’s first since becoming premier earlier this month – will last until Wednesday. The itinerary includes a meeting with Alberta Premier Jim Prentice in Calgary and a meeting with senior TransCanada officials, which also will include several New Brunswick companies participating in a separate trade mission to Alberta.

Additional activities include touring TransCanada’s Oil Control Centre and attending the company’s 14th annual supplier symposium.

Gallant is moving to the forefront in the pipeline debate just weeks before TransCanada is expected to file its formal proposal with the national energy regulator.

As well, he is coming in just as opposition grows in Central Canada,especially in Quebec, to the pipeline proposal.

Quebec’s largest natural gas distributor, Gaz Metro, plans to enlist the support of the provincial government to oppose the project that it says will lead to supply shortages, higher prices and threaten Quebec’s economic growth.

As well, environmental concerns already have delayed work in Quebec at one of two proposed export terminals TransCanada wants to build as part of the $12-billion project. Environmentalists were granted a temporary injunction to stop exploratory drilling at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, near an area where endangered beluga whales give birth to their calves.

Gallant said Sunday he is well aware of the hurdles the project will have to clear.

“We have to do it in an environmentally sound way,”he said.

“This is a project that has to go through many provinces. …We have to make sure that all the provinces and all the people involved work together to make sure we have transparent dialogue about what the benefits are and how we are going to do it in an environmentally sensitive way.”

Energy East would be one of the biggest infrastructure projects in Canadian history, crossing six provinces and traversing 4,600 kilometres in total. Roughly two-thirds of it would make use of underused natural gas pipe that’s already in the ground, with new pipe being built through Quebec and New Brunswick. The idea is to connect oil-sands crude to eastern refineries and to export some of the oil by tanker.

– With files from The Canadian Press

“We think it is important to make sure that the business community and the premier of Alberta understand we are completely behind this and that we are going to do whatever we can to make sure the Energy East pipeline will make its way to New Brunswick and Saint John,” Premier Brian Gallant said on Sunday prior to his departure for Alberta with Energy Minister Don Arseneault, left. Photo: Chris Morris/LegisLature Bureau

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