MONTREAL – Quebec environmentalists are hailing a report the provincial government has imposed various conditions on TransCanada for the Energy East pipeline to be accepted.
Radio-Canada says it has obtained the list of conditions in a letter from Environment Minister David Heurtel to the Calgary-based pipeline company.
The government reportedly wants TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) to ensure the project is socially acceptable, conduct an environmental assessment and provide a plan that would guarantee emergency measures of a high standard.
It also wants the company to assume full economic and environmental responsibility in the case of any leak.
According to the CBC’s French-language network, the letter stipulates the project must generate economic benefits for Quebec as a whole as well as respecting agreements with First Nations.
The proposed Energy East pipeline would carry oilsands crude to refineries on the east coast for export overseas and require construction of two marine facilities — one on the Gulf of St. Lawrence near Quebec City and one Saint John, N.B.
The company says the project would help support thousands of jobs across the country and generate billions of dollars in government tax revenues.
It also states it will provide the safest and most efficient access to markets for Canada’s growing crude oil production.
Concern about the pipeline has been growing, however, particularly in Quebec.
Earlier this fall, Quebec Superior Court slapped an injunction on TransCanada to halt exploratory drilling at its planned oil export facility at Cacouna on the St. Lawrence River.
The injunction had been sought by Quebec-based environmental groups concerned about the impact of the drilling on a beluga whale calving ground around Cacouna.
And about two weeks ago, Quebec’s national assembly unanimously adopted a motion asking the provincial government to assert its jurisdiction over the environment and to hold its own hearings on the Energy East proposal, including the pipeline’s potential impact on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
The motion was in response to the National Energy Board’s refusal to consider the impact on climate change in its assessment of the project and the federal government’s failure to regulate carbon emissions by the oil and gas sector.