Liberals Propose Second Gas Pipeline to Saint John

24 10 2014
TJ  OCT 24
…AAAH – The Liberals….mary
JOHN CHILIBECK LEGISLATURE BUREAU

SAINT JOHN • Premier Brian Gallant is floating the idea of a second cross-country pipeline that could bring more jobs and prosperity to New Brunswick.   In a speech to an energy conference in Saint John on Thursday morning,the Liberal premier said he had mentioned the idea of a natural gas pipeline to officials at TransCanada earlier this week when he visited their operations in Calgary to help promote the Energy East project.   The firm’s Energy East proposal would see a 4,600-kilometre pipeline built that would deliver western crude all the way to Saint John’s refinery and a new export terminal, among other stops along the way. Gallant believes TransCanada should also consider the idea of a second project that would pipe western natural gas to the Canaport LNG terminal in the Port City.   “I just put it to them,and they certainly seemed curious,” Gallant told reporters afterwards.“They’ve seen so much support for the Energy East pipeline here in New Brunswick, us making our first trip to Alberta as a government to express our support for the project, that resonated not only with the premier of Alberta but also with the industry. So I think a real partnership is being created between New Brunswick and Alberta, and I certainly hope that will spin off into other projects, with this one being an example.”   The LNG terminal in Mispec on the city’s east side imports liquefied natural gas,but the idea of converting it to an export terminal has been discussed. Since the terminal was built, natural gas prices in North America have lowered thanks to local shale gas production, while the prices in Asia and Europe remain high, making exports of the fuel more lucrative.   “We support many of the energy projects that are potentially on the horizon in New Brunswick, including converting the LNG terminal to an export facility,” Gallant said. “It’s very preliminary of course, but we did mention the opportunity of potentially getting some of the natural gas from Alberta to here in Saint John,basically for the same reasons we’re trying to get Energy East here, to export to new, emerging world markets. There’s also the possibility of getting natural gas from the U.S. northeast as well. So we’re certainly exploring every potential opportunity.”   Interim Tory opposition leader Bruce Fitch said the premier’s idea wasn’t a new one, arguing Invest NB had already brought the concept forward some time ago. The former Progressive Conservative government created the Crown corporation, which the Liberals have pledged to disband.   Fitch said much of the natural gas out west is extracted using hydraulic fracturing, a process that won’t be allowed in New Brunswick because of the Liberal government’s decision to impose a moratorium.   “Does it not seem hypocritical to promote the development of natural gas through fracking elsewhere while refusing to use our own natural gas resource?”   The Tories support shale gas development as a means to create jobs, but the new Liberal government has imposed a moratorium.   During his speech, Gallant referred to his shale gas stance as “the elephant in the room”but stressed the subject never came up while he was in Alberta, except when the media asked him about it during a news conference.   He told reporters Thursday a report written for the previous Tory government by Jupia Consultants stated natural gas exports from New Brunswick were not dependent on shale gas from the province. And if Alberta or the U.S. northeast have lots of natural gas to sell, New Brunswick should seize on that opportunity, Gallant said.   “Clearly there are some concerns about the extraction method. Alberta will make their decisions,regulatory and royalty schemes.We’ll make sure we proceed cautiously here, and that’s why we still support a moratorium until we fully understand the risk to our health, water and environment.”   The Energy East project envisions converting large portions of existing natural gas pipeline to oil, so there are plenty of tie-ins already in Ontario and Quebec, where big industry has complained they still need natural gas.   Susan Holt, president and CEO of the New Brunswick Business Council, said offering Central Canada a new natural gas pipeline sounded like a good idea. It would also benefit New Brunswick, she said.   “If they’re going to dig the trenches and put the pipeline through New Brunswick, putting in a secondary pipe to put in natural gas infrastructure you’d think would be more cost effective because they’re in the ground already doing it,”Holt said as she wheeled her five-month-old infant daughter to the conference.“But they need to explore that. I’d like to see it go both ways.There are parts of New Brunswick that don’t have piped natural gas today. So is this an opportunity to share some of those costs to develop the infrastructure to serve other communities like Edmundston and Bathurst?”   Canaport LNG said little about the premier’s idea or whether it was realistic.   “Currently, we are considering all options to make the most efficient use of the Canaport LNG facility, but a decision has not yet been made on a possible liquefaction project,”said company spokeswoman Kate Shannon in an email.   TransCanada spokesman Mark Cooper said Thursday his firm was appreciative of Gallant’s support of Energy East.   “Right now our focus is on Energy East and to deliver energy that will generate billions of dollars’ worth of new tax revenues for municipal, provincial and federal governments – much-needed funds for countless public projects such as schools, roads, hospitals and to balance budgets,” Cooper said in an email. “For many of the smallest communities passed by the pipeline, Energy East will become a significant new source of local tax revenue.”   Holt, who was scheduled as an afternoon speaker at the 12th annual Atlantic Canada and Northeast U.S. Energy Summit,said New Brunswick couldn’t afford to ignore money-making ideas. “We want to be exploring every opportunity to grow the economy in New Brunswick and get revenues into our province’s bank account. So if there’s an opportunity to take advantage of the Energy East pipeline, to add in a natural gas line to promote an LNG export-based business, I think we should be exploring it.”   Up until Thursday, the premier’s chief emphasis has been promoting Energy East, which he described in his speech as anything but a done deal.The project has plenty of critics, including environmentalists across the country.   “The elephant in the room when it comes to building large new fossil fuel infrastructure such as the Energy East pipeline is the climate crisis,”said Green party Leader David Coon on Thursday. “It would enable a significant expansion oilsands mining that would add 32 million tonnes of carbon pollution to our atmosphere every year.”   Coon said that would be twice the amount that New Brunswick emits from all sources.   “This is not ethically responsible. We must reduce our carbon footprint,which means reducing the production of fossils fuels, not increasing them. We must fast-track the development of the new green economy in New Brunswick while revitalizing our traditional economic sectors so they become sustainable and strengthen our local economies.”

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2 responses

24 10 2014
Douglas Newman

Very troubling comments from our new Premier Gallant. Not three weeks in office and he’s actively promoting “twining” the Energy East disaster. Talk about a “bought-and-paid-for” politician! What the hell are they building in Saint John? A friggin’ bomb? They *do know* that there is a nuclear facility already there, don’t they?? This could be catastrophic. Blinded by their greed, and their lust for power… We are surely living in a fool’s paradise. Thanks for voting in murderers of your children’s “better futures”, New Brunswick. Nice goin’. Bought the “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” line again. *sigh*

24 10 2014
roughgarden

What we have to do is tell them we don’t want ANY pipelines, whether gas or oil. Gallant thinks this is the answer to the fracking problem. Don’t frack (temporarily) but bring in as much gas and oil as you can into our “pipe-through” Province. We have to start telling Gallant and the whole Leg that we don’t want oil and gas pipelines, we don’t want oil trains, we don’t want any more fossil fuel industries “passing through” our Province.

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