Sunday October 08, 2017

Does scrapping the Energy East mean the end of major pipeline construction in Canada?

The Energy East pipeline would have stretched from Alberta to an export terminal in New Brunswick, and could have carried up to 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day.

The Energy East pipeline would have stretched from Alberta to an export terminal in New Brunswick, and could have carried up to 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day. (Alex Panetta/The Canadian Press)

Listen to Full Episode 1:52:59

Sunday on Cross Country Checkup: pipeline failure.

Cheers and jeers met TransCanada's decision to walk away from its Energy East pipeline to the Maritimes, after spending $1-billion dollars on the effort.

A $16 billion dollar pipeline proposal to connect oilfields in the West to refineries in the East. A big big project that is no more, raising questions whether any big resource project is possible in Canada these days.

Duncan McCue

Host of Cross Country Checkup, Duncan McCue.

For sure, TransCanada's decision to walk away from Energy East after spending $1-billion dollars on the effort is fueling plenty of political divides.

There were cheers coming from Quebec and dozens of cities and First Nations on the proposed route, who had vowed to stop it at all costs, anxious about the threat of potentially disastrous oil spills in their backyards. 

And there were jeers from disappointment in New Brunswick, as the promise of new jobs evaporated to anger in Alberta and Saskatchewan, where the struggling, landlocked oil industry must look elsewhere to get access to world markets.

The finger-pointing abounds. TransCanada blamed the Trudeau government's new, tougher environmental regulations intended to take greenhouse gas emissions into account and improve consultation of First Nations. The Natural Resources minister jabbed back, saying the drop in oil prices did the project in.

Map of Energy East

TransCanada Corp.'s proposed pipeline project would have cost an estimated $16-billion. (Canadian Press)

What do you think? Have pipeline approvals become mired in too much red tape? Or in the balancing act between climate change and the economy, is this the proper result?

The demise of Energy East ratchets up attention on other pipeline projects. There's Enbridge's Line 3 to the U.S. facing staunch opposition in the States. Kinder Morgan's Transmountain line to B.C. may have got the green-light from Ottawa, but it's opponents were lined up in court this week, arguing there's no legal case to be made for opening up BC's coast to more oil tankers.

Some say this is a national unity crisis. Do you think it is? If we don't use pipelines to move oil, how should it be done, safely and efficiently? Or is it time to move beyond fossil fuels and ramp up investment in renewable energy? 

Our question today: "Does scrapping Energy East mean the end of major pipeline construction in Canada?"

GUESTS

Steven Guilbeault
Senior director of Équiterre 

Don Darling
Mayor of Saint John, New Brunswick

Rueben George
Manager of The Sacred Trust, an initiative of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation 

Dustin Duncan
Saskatchewan's Minister of Environment and former minister of Energy and Resources

What we're reading

Response by N.B. Premier Brian Gallant

CBC.ca

The Globe and Mail

National Post

Maclean's 

Abacus Data

CTV News

Équiterre 


Calgary Herald


Edmonton Sun

Regina Leader-Post

Toronto Star

National Newswatch

National Observer