Disappointment and delight mark the death of Energy East pipeline

Marie Harrington
October 6, 2017

Russ Girling, executive director of the Calgary-based company, said in a statement that he will report to the National Energy Board that TransCanada will not proceed with the requests.

"Nonetheless, this is an unfortunate outcome for Canadians", Notley said in a statement.

The largest pipeline proposal in Canadian history met a bitter end this week, leaving behind a trail of delighted environmentalists, deeply disappointed industry stakeholders, and carefully measured government responses. Energy East would have moved Alberta oilsands production to an Irving Oil operation in Saint John. Among other demands, Quebec insisted that the project be subject to an environmental assessment and that TransCanada must guarantee an emergency plan in case of a spill, consult with communities including aboriginal groups along the route and ensure the project doesn't reduce the province's gas supply.

As of Thursday, October 5th, 2017, the Energy East Pipeline project is no more.

August 23, 2017: In a decision cheered by environmentalists but considered a setback by the oil industry, the National Energy Board says it will allow wider discussion of greenhouse gas emission issues in upcoming hearings for the Energy East Pipeline.

Aurore Fauret, Tar Sands Campaign co-ordinator at 350.org said the decision is proof that climate action and pipelines don't mix, and that organized resistance can prevail.

"Given increasing public interest in GHG emissions, together with increasing governmental actions and commitments (including the federal government's stated interest in assessing upstream GHG emissions associated with major pipelines), the Board is of the view that it should also consider indirect GHG emissions in its [National Energy Board] Act public interest determination for each of the Projects".

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The B.C. government doesn't share her view, however, and is now part of a court challenge against Trans Mountain being heard this week.

While Energy East's collapse may cost Trudeau support in the traditionally conservative oil heartland of Alberta it is likely to prove popular in the eastern province of Quebec, which has far more parliamentary seats and where pipeline opposition from politicians and environmental groups had been stiff.

Energy East was up for its second NEB review, after the first stalled past year amid protests by environmentalists and after revelations that regulatory panel members met privately with a TransCanada consultant. Companies are not eager to invest in expensive tar sands projects unless the price of oil comes back up.

"Justin Trudeau and (Natural Resources Minister) Jim Carr stood behind a climate review for Energy East, and that's admirable, but it also makes me wonder why they don't have the same concerns about Kinder Morgan, a pipeline they approved without considering the climate impact", read her emailed comments.

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant, another longtime champion of the Energy East project, joined Notley in expressing disappointment with TransCanada's decision. Where charges of environmental negligence followed the approvals of the Trans Mountain and Line 3 projects, this time the government was savaged for being soft on jobs and economic growth.

Oil prices have roughly halved since 2014.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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