Pipe­line can­cel­la­tion national hu­mil­i­a­tion

The Intelligencer (Belleville) - - OPINION - — Post­media Net­work

The scrap­ping of Tran­sCanada Corp’s $15.7-bil­lion En­ergy East pipe­line is re­gret­table. The fact the de­ci­sion was prompted by un­cer­tainty about the reg­u­la­tory re­view the pro­ject faced is deplorable.

The National En­ergy Board — re­spond­ing to sig­nals from the gov­ern­ment of Justin Trudeau — in­sisted that up­stream and down­stream green­house gas emis­sions form part of the re­view, a re­quire­ment it added mid­way through the process. That means the national reg­u­la­tor would have con­sid­ered the amount of emis­sions gen­er­ated by the ex­trac­tion of the oil, as well as when it was burned, per­haps as fuel to power Que­bec-made Bom­bardier jets.

The NEB’s over­reach­ing test was too much. It seems strange the gov­ern­ment and its var­i­ous arms’-length bod­ies don’t fret about the emis­sions pro­duced by Bom­bardier’s var­i­ous prod­ucts, which are de­pen­dent on the very re­source En­ergy East was going to trans­port from Al­berta to Que­bec and the East Coast.

Fed­eral In­fra­struc­ture Min­is­ter Amar­jeet Sohi said the move by Tran­sCanada was a busi­ness de­ci­sion and he dis­missed sug­ges­tions the cul­prit was the NEB’s new rules.

“It’s the com­pany’s de­ci­sion not to pro­ceed with En­ergy East based on their busi­ness anal­y­sis. It has noth­ing to do with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s re­view process,” Sohi said. Ev­i­dently that wasn’t the case. “There re­mains sub­stan­tial un­cer­tainty around the scope, tim­ing and cost as­so­ci­ated with the reg­u­la­tory re­view of the projects,” the com­pany said of the pipe­line and a pro­posed marine ter­mi­nal in New Brunswick.

“After com­plet­ing its care­ful re­view of these fac­tors, the ex­ist­ing and likely fu­ture de­lays re­sult­ing from the reg­u­la­tory process, the as­so­ci­ated cost im­pli­ca­tions and the in­creas­ingly chal­leng­ing is­sues and ob­sta­cles fac­ing the projects, the ap­pli­cants will not be pro­ceed­ing fur­ther with the projects.”

It is not only an em­bar­rass­ment that the pipe­line’s can­cel­la­tion en­sures the East’s con­tin­ued de­pen­dence on for­eign oil, but it is a scan­dal that Canada can’t get such projects built in a timely fash­ion.

Even pipe­lines that have been ap­proved are met with op­po­si­tion and le­gal chal­lenges, rais­ing doubts about the so-called so­cial li­cense the NDP imag­ined its pro­vin­cial car­bon tax would earn.

The list of aban­doned en­ergy pro­pos­als now tops $56 bil­lion in the past year alone. The Trudeau gov­ern­ment needs to rec­og­nize the im­por­tance of such pur­suits to the coun­try’s econ­omy.

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