A company that wants to move oil in a pipeline that slices through northern Ontario has taken another step toward making the project a reality.
TransCanada Corporation has announced it’s going to seek permission to convert one of its natural gas lines into a west-to-east crude oil pipeline.
The pipeline, which still needs regulatory approval, will send 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from Western Canada to refineries and export terminals in Eastern Canada.
A North Bay resident, who is with the environmental group Northwatch, said she is keeping a close eye on development as one of TransCanada’s natural gas lines runs through her property.
Brennain Lloyd said she’s not sure if it is part of the line the company wants to convert to carry oil.
"They were unable to say," she said. "They were unable to provide a detailed map, they were unable to answer questions around the exact route."
'A lot of questions'
She said she supported TransCanada when it added a second natural gas pipeline in the 1990s, but said she has reservations about oil.
"I have a lot of questions about why they would be allowed to proceed," she said. "Those are questions not just for TransCanada, but for the regulators."
In Temagami, the company has already paid a visit to lay out some of its plans, and the mayor of that community said he’s not opposed to the change.
"It’s up to us to insist … and it’s up to the National Energy Board to insist that all measures are there to mitigate whatever risk there is," John Hodgson said.
Anyone who lives near the proposed Energy East Pipeline route will soon get a chance to ask more questions, as TransCanada has information sessions planned in communities stretching from Hearst to Mattawa in the coming weeks.