Canada’s National Energy Board is encouraging stakeholders in the Energy East pipeline approval process to apply for status to participate in hearings starting today, ignoring a nationwide call for a paced, thorough analysis of the pipeline’s impacts.
This announcement came within hours of a petition delivery to the NEB, signed by more than 100,000 Canadians demanding that climate change be considered in the project’s review process. Reports reveal that this pipeline risks generating up to 32 million tonnes of additional greenhouse gas emissions each year in Canada.
The prospective pipeline — the largest to ever be built in North America– would transport 1.1 billion barrels of crude from Alberta’s tar sands through Canadian communities and waterways. The NEB will be accepting applications to participate in these hearings — from citizens and industry alike — from February 3 through March 3, 2015.
The Energy East pipeline is a proposed tar sands pipeline in Canada, that if built, would deliver oil from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries and port terminals in Quebec and New Brunswick. The project is a proposal of oil giant TransCanada and aims to convert 3,000 kilometres of existing natural gas pipeline which currently carries natural gas from Alberta to the Ontario-Quebec border, to oil an oil pipeline. For this conversion to take place, a new pipeline, pump stations and tank facilities would new also be constructed. In all, the project is estimated to cost $12 billion (USD) and would be the longest in North America if completed.
The Energy East project is opposed by Canadians for a number of reasons. One concern is the environmental impact of the project. The Pembina Institute released a report in 2014 urging Canada’s National Energy Board consider the impact on carbon emissions. This position is supported by the Governments of Ontario and Quebec, who want the project’s impact of the project on greenhouses gases examined as part of the National Energy Board review process. Another controversial aspect is a new supertanker complex at the eastern end of the pipeline near Quebec city. The Quebec Superior Court halted exploratory work on the pipeline for a month after finding that the Quebec environment ministry had not considered the impact of the project on beluga whales in the area. A public opinion poll held in Quebec found only one-third of Quebecers supported the pipeline.