Quebec Environment Minister David Heurtel has laid out a series of conditions TransCanada must meet before the provincial government accepts the Quebec portion of the company’s massive Energy East pipeline project.

“If the company doesn't respond to the conditions, the project cannot go ahead,” said Heurtel.

Radio-Canada obtained a copy of the letter dated Nov. 18.

It was addressed to TransCanada CEO Russel K. Girling.

Heurtel said there are seven conditions the company must fulfill:

  • A full environmental assessment that looks at impact of the project on greenhouse gas emissions.
  • A thorough emergency plan which includes a compensation fund in case of a spill.
  • The company must consult nearby communities on potential social impacts of the project.
  • The pipeline project must respect the highest technical standards to assure public safety and protection of the environment
  • The project must satisfy issues dealing with First Nations and must involve them wherever needed
  • The project must generate economic benefits for all of Quebec, especially in job creation in areas where the pipeline will be located.
  • Make sure there is no impact to Quebec’s natural gas supply.

The Energy East plan would convert an existing natural gas pipeline from Alberta to Ontario to carry oilsands bitumen.

The company would then build a new section of pipeline into Quebec and New Brunswick.

The TransCanada project includes the construction of an oil shipping port at the town of Cacouna, Que.

Move receives approval

“Quebec is saying that they have basically the right to stop that project and that's what we want,” said Greenpeace spokesman Patrick Bonin. “We want the Quebec government to make sure this project respects the environment and Quebecers.”

TransCanada confirms it has received the letter.

The company says it has doubts about the need for a provincial environmental assessment because the National Energy Board is already looking into the project.