[Editor’s note: the following article from the Irving Papers does not specify what these “principles” or conditions are. I will continue to search until I find a specification of the actual conditions.]
ADAM HURAS LEGISLATURE BUREAU
Two of the country’s largest provinces are together stating that greenhouse gas emissions must be considered in an analysis of whether the proposed Energy East pipeline should move ahead.
Ontario and Quebec, two of the six provinces Energy East would traverse as it carries crude from Alberta to Saint John, have set out a list of“principles”for new oil pipelines proposed to run through their provinces, one of which would be to“take into account the contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.”
Premiers Kathleen Wynne and Philippe Couillard emerged from meetings on Friday with the announcement.
In reaction to his colleagues, Premier Brian Gallant said he will continue to advocate for the project to go ahead, while not addressing whether Ontario and Quebec’s stance on Energy East represents a serious obstacle to the project.
The new boss of the National Energy Board, the agency tasked with weighing the $12-billion proposal, has also now said that climate change policy isn’t within its purview and the board doesn’t intend for its hearings to become bogged down in that debate.
TransCanada filed its 30,000-page project application with the National Energy Board last month.
“I will continue to drive home the message to other provinces that this is a major national project that benefits the whole country, including New Brunswick and the provinces of Ontario and Quebec,”said Gallant in an emailed statement.
The premier was not made available for an interview on Friday.
Gallant’s statement also addressed how the province would be a part of the review process.
“New Brunswick, through the Department of Environment and Local Government,will apply to have intervener status in the NEB review,which will ensure that New Brunswickers’ voices are heard on this important initiative,”Gallant said.
Progressive Conservation Energy critic Jake Stewart said Gallant should have been discussing the project with Quebec and Ontario, rather than taking a trip to Alberta to affirm support for the project to a province that is already onside.
“He has now put New Brunswick in a position of being on the outside of a Quebec-Ontario strategy with no ability to influence their actions.”
Stewart said he is confident that the pipeline will be a much safer and cleaner way transport oil to the east coast versus the current rail traffic that is already moving half a million barrels a day across the continent.
National Energy Board chair and CEO Peter Watson, who’s been in the job for three months, said on Friday that it’s not the board’s job to look at a project’s enabling role in oilsands growth and the rising carbon dioxide emissions that would come with that.
Nor is it the board’s job to look at how crude products are burned for energy at the other end of the pipe. That authority rests with provinces and other regulators, he said.
Watson also said it is important that reviews are conducted in a timely manner, but that he“won’t hesitate” to extend the legislated 15-month time limit if more information is needed or more stakeholders need the chance to be heard.
The project would connect more than one million barrels a day of Alberta crude to export points and refineries in Quebec and New Brunswick, making use of a repurposed natural gas pipeline for two thirds of the way and building new pipe the rest of the way.
TransCanada issued a statement on Friday maintaining the project is beneficial to Ontario and Quebec.
“Over the past few days, both the Quebec and Ontario provincial governments have laid out conditions related to Energy East,” said TransCanada spokesman Tim Duboyce in an emailed statement.
“We are studying these principles and look forward to working with both governments.”
Duboyce continued that $12-billion Energy East initiative is“a project that benefits all Canadians,” adding it will create 14,000 jobs, provide millions in tax revenues for provinces and local communities along the route, and produce billions in economic activity across Canada.
He said that a recent Conference Board of Canada study concluded Energy East would create over 4,000 direct and indirect jobs in both Quebec and Ontario during development and construction. The study also found Ontario would see over $2.5 billion in tax revenue, Quebec $2 billion during development,construction and the first 20 years of operation.