TransCanada urged to continue with Energy East pipeline plan

Canada’s federal energy regulator has granted a request to suspend its review of a major crude oil pipeline project that would transport oil from the Canadian prairies to Atlantic Canada.

The company said it was asking the National Energy Board for a 30-day suspension on the applications for its Energy East project.

This response is meeting with solid opposition from environmentalists and some local governments, such as that of British Columbia, which recently said it will do its best to block the expansion of another pipeline, Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain.

“Should TransCanada decide not to proceed with the projects after a thorough review of the impact of the NEB’s amendments, the carrying value of its investment in the projects as well as its ability to recover development costs incurred to date would be negatively impacted”, the company said in its statement.

Natural Resources Canada, the federal ministry, sees TransCanada’s request to pause the application as ultimately a private sector decision, said spokesman Alexandre Deslongchamps, adding that the independent NEB panel is reviewing the request.

But Wall says whether people like the oil and gas industry or not, the world still needs oil.

It’s created to carry 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to eastern Canadian refineries.

As 350.org founder Bill McKibben tweeted: “Whoa!

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau directly cited this climate plan in his approval of two new pipelines last fall”.

“This is not an appropriate issue to include in the review”, McCuaig-Boyd said.

“Deciding the merits of a pipeline on downstream emissions is like judging transmission lines based on how its electricity will be used”, she said.

“We collectively built the conditions where the government had to start trading one pipeline off against the other”, she said.

Yet it’s also true that industry is pursuing many initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint and that the market, not politicians, should have final say on whether to support such a long-term project.

“Proceeding with the NEB process is still an option being considered by TransCanada”.

“It’s not just Northwatch”, she said. The company also nixed parts of the project, like a marine terminal in Cacouna, Que., over environmental concerns.

But the NEB’s rebooted review process for Energy East goes further by considering the impact of upstream and downstream emissions from the potential increased consumption of oil associated with the new pipeline. The pipeline could offset regional imports of 700,000 barrels of oil per day, though critics countered it would serve primarily as an export project. Clearly, with 100,000 oil and gas workers out of work, Energy East was a step too far even for the left-leaning provincial government.

“To have these storm clouds hovering over the project is very concerning”, he said.

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