A spokesperson for TransCanada Corporation says the proposed Energy East pipeline would not endanger waterways, as a report released earlier this week suggests.

Shawn Howard says the pipe would have special protective design features, including thicker walls, and would be buried well below the bottom of water bodies.

TransCanada workers

TransCanada says it carries out regular pipeline patrols to look for evidence of leaks. (TransCanada)

The pipe would also have strategically placed shut-off valves to protect water body crossings and other sensitive areas, he said.

"The public expects us to design, build and operate our energy infrastructure safely – and that’s exactly what we expect of ourselves."

Howard was responding to a report released Tuesday by the Council of Canadians that identified nearly 1,000 waterways in the path of the proposed pipeline route, which the group said would be at risk of contamination from a spill.

The 961 waterways, 300 of which are in New Brunswick, are important for drinking water, First Nations cultures and treaty rights, fish and wildlife habitat and tourism, the group said.

​Howard said the company would also use advanced equipment to monitor oil flow.

The company would use the best safety, environmental, engineering and technical standards to protect not only the water, but also the land and air along the proposed route, he said.

"Pipelines are the safest, most efficient and environmentally friendly method of transporting large volumes of oil over long distances," Howard said.

The proposed pipeline would run 4,600 kilometres from Alberta to Saint John, N.B., using repurposed pipe already in the ground roughly two thirds of the way.

TransCanada filed a project description to the National Energy Board on March 4, informing the board that an application seeking approval for Energy East would be submitted later this year. 

The energy board has hosted information sessions to talk about the hearing process, and plans to hold more such sessions.