N.B. Green Party leader dismisses east-west pipeline idea

The leader of the Green Party in New Brunswick believes Premier David Alward is being unrealistic by supporting an east-west energy pipeline.
New Brunswick Premier David Alward and Alberta Premier Alison Redford held a joint news conference after meeting in Calgary on Tuesday. (CBC)

The leader of the Green Party in New Brunswick says Premier David Alward is being unrealistic by supporting an east-west energy pipeline.

After meeting with Alberta Premier Alison Redford in Calgary on Tuesday, Alward said he believes a pipeline from Alberta to New Brunswick could help the Canadian economy.

Green Party Leader David Coon, a high-profile environmentalist in New Brunswick, said an economic case has never been made for a pipeline to the east coast.

He said Alward isn’t taking economic and regulatory factors into account.

"This is just the latest silver bullet idea that he seems to have glommed onto to give people some sense that he's got something in his hip pocket that's gonna solve all of our economic problems," Coon said.

The idea currently under consideration would see an existing TransCanada natural gas pipeline converted to take bitumen from the oilsands to a refinery in Saint John, N.B. 

John Herron, a former Progressive Conservative MP who is the president of the Atlantica Centre for Energy in Saint John, is a supporter of the project.

"This is a project and a concept that's building a lot of momentum," he said. "That is in the national interest, it has project proponents in almost every province along the way."

Herron believes the east-west pipeline has a better chance of getting approved than the controversial Northern Gateway project.

The Northern Gateway pipeline, which is subject of public hearings now underway in British Columbia, would transport bitumen from from Alberta to a port in Kitimat where it could then be shipped to Asian markets.

But the project has met with opposition in B.C. over worries about how a pipeline leak or tanker spill could affect the environment.