National Energy Board’s pipeline focus isn’t environment, Chair says

25 11 2014

Peter Watson says provinces, TransCanada must look after Energy East pipeline environmental concerns

CBC News Posted: Nov 25, 2014 6:50 AM AT Last Updated: Nov 25, 2014 6:50 AM AT

Peter Watson

Peter Watson, National Energy Board chair and CEO, is in Saint John to talk about how communities affected by the Energy East pipeline project can be heard. (National Energy Board)

The chief executive officer of the National Energy Board assures New Brunswickers that the board will keep an eye on any environmental concerns raised by construction of the Energy East pipeline project, but says it is not the board’s primary focus.

Peter Watson, the chair and chief executive officer of the National Energy Board, said it’s up to the provinces involved and the pipeline company, TransCanada Corp., to look after any environmental problems.

The board’s main job is to ensure proper construction of the pipeline, he says.

“One of the things that we take very seriously is, can that be constructed and operated properly and can the safety and security of the people in the communities that that project interfaces with, you know, can they be addressed?” Watson said.

“And that’s the focus we bring to this and we do a pretty good job of it.”

Watson is in New Brunswick Tuesday to speak to the Saint John Board of Trade about the pipeline project.

He’s expected to speak about the plan that the board is setting up to make sure any communities affected by the national project have a chance to be heard.

TransCanada’s $11-billion Energy East proposal would see the conversion of roughly 3,000 kilometres of natural gas pipeline on the company’s Canadian Mainline route and the construction of 1,400 kilometres of new pipeline, to carry crude oil from Alberta to Saint John.

The pipeline proposal would send 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from Western Canada to refineries and export terminals in Eastern Canada.

Gallant and Wynne

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant met on Monday to discuss the Energy East pipeline project. (CBC)

TransCanada and Irving Oil Ltd. have also formed a joint venture to build and operate a new $300-million deep water marine terminal.

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant was in Toronto on Monday promoting the pipeline project in a meeting with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

That meeting came after a similar meeting between Wynne and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard. Wynne and Couillard set out seven conditions for the pipeline project.

The conditions include consultations with First Nations, strict safety rules, recognition of the larger need to fight climate change, and ensuring natural gas customers in central Canada are not affected when part of a gas pipeline there becomes part of Energy East.

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