Quebec to scrutinize Energy East pipeline
TransCanada agrees to let province examine impact on environment
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.