Saskatchewan premier continues to call for support of Energy East pipeline

REGINA – Saskatchewan’s legislature passed a motion Wednesday calling for the removal of what Premier Brad Wall calls unnecessary barriers to the Energy East pipeline project.

“We just wanted to make the point in the legislature that this is Canadian oil replacing foreign oil,” he said. “Even though we are one of the most prolific producers of oil in the world, parts of our country import oil from Iraq, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, the United States. This doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

The proposed $12-billion pipeline would ship more than one million barrels of western crude daily from Alberta and Saskatchewan to oil refineries in Eastern Canada.

Wall’s motion calls on Ontario and Quebec to recognize the National Energy Board as the appropriate body to review the pipeline proposal. It also said the provinces shouldn’t impose additional conditions, including those pertaining to greenhouse gas emissions.

TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) has filed an application with the National Energy Board to use a repurposed natural gas pipeline to carry crude two-thirds of the way across the country and to build a new pipeline extension that would lead to Saint John, N.B.

Wall has said he is concerned by the position taken by his Ontario and Quebec counterparts.

Premiers Kathleen Wynne and Philippe Couillard said last week that greenhouse gas emissions, among other issues, must be considered in the pipeline’s development.

“I don’t want them to be looking at some sort of analysis of greenhouse gases in projects, because where does that stop?” Wall said.

“I honestly thought Energy East would not be controversial,” he said, adding that he is grateful to the Saskatchewan Opposition for supporting the motion.

Wall said he believes transporting oil in pipelines is safer than using the rail system and he hopes the Ontario and Quebec premiers will take a “national view” of the project.

“It’s why we’ve never objected to massive subsidies, for example, for the car industry; we know that’s good for Canada to have a strong auto sector,” he said.