Regulator considers review of Energy East emissions
CALGARY The National Energy Board may consider the upstream and downstream emissions associated with the construction of TransCanada Corp.’s massive Energy East pipeline project.
The NEB released a draft list of issues Wednesday that its hearing panel might consider as it reviews TransCanada’s application to build Energy East, a $15-billion project that would move 1.1 million barrels of oil per day between Alberta and New Brunswick.
It also released a draft list for consideration on a TransCanada natural gas pipeline project called the Eastern Mainline.
The draft list includes an item, for which the NEB is requesting feedback, that would require the hearing panel to consider the upstream and downstream greenhouse gas emissions of the Energy East project and also TransCanada’s eastern main-line project.
“That would really be a first for the NEB,” spokesperson Marc Drolet said. He said the regulator is looking for feedback on that issue and others as it is working “to define the scope of the review” for Energy East.
Emissions impacts have been a controversial issue for the NEB, which did not previously evaluate emissions from pipeline projects in determining whether the projects are in the public interest.
However, intense pressure from environmentalists and criticism during the last federal election has led the federal Liberal party to create a panel to review and modernize the NEB and the regulator may soon consider emissions.
The NEB also restarted its review process for Energy East last year after three panellists assessing the project stepped down amid allegations two of them had met with a TransCanada lobbyist, former Quebec premier Jean Charest, before hearings on the project began.
The new draft list of issues the regulator may consider for the Energy East project includes economic considerations, aboriginal impacts, safety issues and landowner considerations — all of which were commonplace in past NEB reviews.
However, Drolet said there were a number of other new issues the NEB would also consider, including the potential environmental and economic effects of power line construction and marine shipping as a result of the pipeline project.