Wall blasts pipeline ‘conditions’ – Ont., Que. ‘out of line,’ premier says
25 Nov 2014
BRUCE JOHNSTONE LEADER-POST firstname.lastname@example.org
Wall blasts pipeline ‘conditions’
Ont., Que. ‘out of line,’ premier says
REGINA — Ontario and Quebec are “out of line” in demanding that approval of the Energy East pipeline be conditional on whether the $12-billion project increases greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions linked to global climate change, Premier Brad Wall said Monday.
Wall was responding to statements last Friday by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard calling for the project to meet seven conditions, including an assurance by the project proponent, TransCanada Corp., that the pipeline won’t lead to higher GHG emissions.
“I am concerned about barriers to the pipeline,’’ Wall told reporters. “What do they want to measure? The oil that will be in the pipeline? The life cycle (carbon emissions) of the oil that’s in the pipeline? Does the steel used to build the pipeline count in the GHG life cycle of the (pipeline)?”
“What kind of precedent are we setting here in our country for the transportation of goods and services across Canada?”
The proposed 4,600-km pipeline would carry 1.1 million barrels of crude oil and other products per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries in Eastern Canada. The project, which is in the early stages of review by the National Energy Board (NEB), would see the conversion of an existing natural gas pipeline to an oil transportation pipeline, plus construction of pump stations and terminals in Alberta, Moosomin in southeastern Saskatchewan, Quebec and New Brunswick.
Wall said Ontario and Quebec are raising concerns about GHG emissions that are “not part of the NEB process and I’m not sure that it should be. … What about the fact that 85 per cent of the GHG (emissions) in Canada come from you and I, from consumers, from people who drive cars that are made in Ontario that are subsidized by the federal and provincial governments?”
“If you want to get serious about (reducing) GHGs in Canada, we’d all stop driving cars,” said an exasperated Wall.
Wall noted that Ontario and Quebec stand to gain roughly half the economic activity generated by the project, which is estimated at $10 billion over the first six years and $25 billion over 40 years.
He added that TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline, like its proposed Keystone XL pipeline project in the U.S., would actually reduce GHG emissions by taking oil transportation off the rail system and moving it safely underground.
“When we reach pipeline capacity, the oil goes on a rail … When that happens, your GHG emissions increase and the intensity of spills and potential accidents is greater,’’ Wall said. “It’s not perfect, but pipeline is the preferred mode of transportation.’’
Following his scrum with reporters, Wall added the demand by Ontario and Quebec for a GHG impact analysis of Energy East was “extraneous because this is displacement oil. Canadian oil will replace American and Middle Eastern imports. This is existing demand with its own current GHG footprint and that is not likely to change.”