New Brunswick

Demise of Energy East a 'devastating blow' to Saint John, mayor says

Don Darling says the pipeline project would have been a boon for city and New Brunswick

Sarah Petz - CBC News

October 05, 2017

Saint John Mayor Don Darling says Saint John had a lot to gain if the Energy East project had gone ahead. (CBC)

TransCanada's decision to drop its Energy East project is a "devastating blow" to Saint John, the mayor says.

Mayor Don Darling said Saint John stood to gain hundreds of jobs during construction of the pipeline and could have gained up to $5 million in property tax revenue each year once it was completed.

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"Not to mention the spinoff effects of a project of this magnitude," Darling told CBC News Network.  

"What I know is, with the project dying, fuel will still come, oil will still come to Saint John, it will come by rail and tanker by foreign countries, and the fact that the project is killed is devastating for us."

On Thursday, the company announced it is pulling the plug on its Energy East pipeline and Eastern Mainline proposals.

The Energy East pipeline would have carried oil from Alberta and Saskatchewan to New Brunswick, where most of it would have been exported and some would have been refined at the Irving Oil refinery.

According to a presentation to Saint John councillors in June 2016, TransCanada planned to hire 3,716 people locally to help with the construction of the project, and 97 people to operate it once it was complete.

Montreal mayor 'disappointing' 

Darling also expressed frustration with Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre for saying he was pleased with the project was abandoned.

In a tweet, Mayor Denis Coderre said he was proud of TransCanada's decision and claimed he, other Montreal-area mayors and citizens groups played a key role in it.

Coderre has said he believes the pipeline represented significant environmental threats and too few economic benefits for greater Montreal.

Darling said he thought it was "incredibly disappointing" that a mayor of a Canadian city "would be elated to block such an important project."

"I don't see us, as another province, blocking projects that are important to Quebec specifically," he said.

Last month, Darling and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi got together to reaffirm their support for the project in light of TransCanada's decision to suspend its application for 30 days to re-evaluate the pipeline's viability. 

At the time, Nenshi called the $15.7-billion proposed project "critical to Canada's prosperity" and said pipelines are the safest way to transport oil.

On Thursday, Darling echoed those words, calling Energy East a "nation-building" project.

Corrections

With files from CBC News Network
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