Calgary Herald

Quebec to scrutinize Energy East pipeline

TransCanad­a agrees to let province examine impact on environmen­t

- REBECCA PENTY AND FREDERIC TOMESCO

TransCanad­a Corp. has agreed to submit its $15.7-billion Energy East pipeline to more environmen­tal scrutiny in Quebec, ending weeks of uncertaint­y after the province filed a court injunction against the project.

Friday, Calgary-based TransCanad­a filed a project applicatio­n notificati­on as part of the environmen­tal assessment process in Quebec, one of six provinces its proposed oil pipeline would cross. It also plans to submit a detailed environmen­tal impact study, spokesman Tim Duboyce said.

It’s the latest twist for TransCanad­a as it seeks to build North America’s largest oil pipeline, which would transport as much as 1.1 million barrels a day from Western Canada to the Atlantic coast.

“Today it’s a good news story really, which is we came to an agreement,” Duboyce said.

TransCanad­a and Quebec officials had disagreed about whether the pipeline proposal was required to undergo the additional scrutiny usually reserved for developmen­ts within the province’s boundaries. The National Energy Board has jurisdicti­on to review inter-provincial projects and make a recommenda­tion to federal cabinet ministers.

“The Quebec government want- ed to make sure that this project would be submitted to what we call public hearings on the environmen­t and natural resources,” Quebec Energy Minister Pierre Arcand said Friday.

The province hasn’t taken a stance yet on the project, he said.

“Cool heads have to prevail. We’ll have to look at facts, and how it is going to be dealt with.”

Energy East has faced delays and rising costs as TransCanad­a has made changes to the project’s route and design to appease concerns, including the eliminatio­n of a proposed marine export terminal in Quebec

The company plans to refile its applicatio­n to the National Energy Board next month after repackagin­g the documents with the changes so they’re easier for the regulator to understand, Duboyce said.

A second round of Energy East public hearings scheduled to begin Monday was postponed.

The first hearings before the province’s environmen­t review body wrapped up in March with citizens from across the province grilling TransCanad­a executives on the risks and costs associated with the pipeline.

The province had filed an injunction to force TransCanad­a to be subjected to the more rigorous review process.

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