Islanders are wondering what a $12-billion pipeline bringing bitumen from Alberta's oilsands to the port of Saint John, N.B. will mean for people on P.E.I.

TransCanada Corporation, based out of Calgary, announced Thursday plans to move ahead with its Energy East pipeline project, which will expand an existing pipeline network to enter Quebec and end in New Brunswick.

P.E.I. Energy Minister Wes Sheridan said the pipeline will stabilize fuel prices.

"The last number of increases in gas prices have been because of the unstable condition in the Middle East where most of this oil comes from, and every time there is a blip in that we see an increase in our gas prices," he said.

Malpeque MP Wayne Easter said the region should see the benefits of the pipeline.

"We should be, as Canadians, using Canadian resources right across the country and all Canadians should benefit from the oil resources in this country," he said.

But Leo Broderick, vice chair of the Council of Canadians, has already begun a campaign against the project. He said there are huge environmental concerns.

"We will be organizing communities and Canadians to oppose this. There is a different future for energy in this country, but it certainly doesn't depend, and need to depend on dirty oil from the tar sands," said Broderick.

There are questions about whether the oil will stay in the region or be exported to foreign markets.

"Is it part of the objective of the oil companies and the government of Canada to use this pipeline to move it east, and through the deep port of Saint John to move it to markets in China and India?" asked Easter.

"This is big oil, big corporations intent on moving it overseas," said Broderick.

"We hope that this will stay in the region, and therefore stabilize out prices," said Sheridan.

It will take up to at least five years to get through the environmental hurdles and construction before Alberta crude oil will be flowing into the region.