NB: the public decides on Energy East pipeline

recommandations-office-national-energie-oleoducThe National Energy Board will kick off its public information sessions on Energy East pipeline today in New Brunswick – a province where the project is far from unanimous.

A committee of three people responsible for deciding on the future of the $ 15.7 billion development project will chair the hearings in Saint John, where the oil would come to Alberta to be refined on the East Coast.

In all, 337 people should be involved in hearings to decide on the proposed TransCanada, which has already caused divisions between those who support its economic benefits and those who oppose it for environmental reasons.

Stephen Thomas, coordinator of the energy campaign Ecology Action Centre, will travel to Halifax to offer 20-minute presentation on the first day of the hearings.

He plans addressing public concerns about the possibility of a spill in the turbulent waters of the Bay of Fundy. So far, Mr. Thomas was not convinced by the plan to mitigate risks of TransCanada.

According to him, the company will work “much harder” to prove to the residents that it would respond effectively if a spill occurs. He recalled that the Energy East pipeline, which would transport 1.1 million barrels of crude oil each day would increase emissions of greenhouse gases. This challenge, however, will be a separate assessment of the federal government.

To do one’s homework

Roger Hunka, director of intergovernmental affairs at the Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council, for its part, submitted 16 detailed questions before his speech, scheduled for Tuesday. His organization is not against development if the project is well planned and well explained, he said. But he said TransCanada has not done its job on this side.

“TransCanada, in my experience, has adopted a dismissive approach to citizens. When it comes to the public, it does not care, “he argued. Mr. Hunka is concerned mainly the potential impact of a spill on the environment, as well as hunting and fishing.

The spokesman for TransCanada, Mark Cooper, assured that the company’s commitment to inform the public about all aspects of the project. “Communication, transparency, accountability and openness to local communities are fundamental to building trust and acceptability of our project,” he said. “A reciprocal, open and sharing information with Aboriginal communities are essential to building a better [pipeline] East Energy,” he added. According to Mr. Cooper, TransCanada has organized more than 3200 meetings with 166 Aboriginal communities across the country since 2013 – including 16 in New Brunswick. Still, the oil and gas projects are controversial in the province has been the scene of several clashes linked to the development of natural resources.

NEB hearings will be held in nine cities across Canada. They should be concluded in December in Kingston, Ontario. The recommendations of the Board on the project will be presented to the federal government by March 16, 2018.

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