New Brunswick

Energy East pipeline doesn't make energy ministers formal meetings

A two-day meeting of Canada's energy ministers ended Tuesday in Saint Andrews without any announcements about the Energy East pipeline link — or even a mention on the agenda.

2-day conference in Saint Andrews wrestles in part with how to gain public support for resource developments

Rick Doucet, New Brunswick minister of energy and resource development, said he's had "numerous" conversations with officials of other jurisdictions about the proposed 4,500-kilometre pipeline from Alberta to Saint John. (CBC)

A two-day meeting of Canada's energy ministers ended Tuesday in Saint Andrews without any announcements about the Energy East pipeline link — or even a mention on the agenda.

But Rick Doucet, New Brunswick minister of energy and resource development, said he's had "numerous" conversations with officials of other jurisdictions about the proposed 4,500-kilometre pipeline from Alberta to Saint John.

The ministers are anxious for the approval process for the TransCanada Energy East pipeline to start up again, Doucet said.

An earlier panel reviewing the pipeline project stepped down last year over a possible conflict and its decisions were cancelled.

"My understanding is, you know, the process had to be restarted again and there's some consultation process on right now," Doucet said at the Energy and Ministers Conference, which took place Monday and Tuesday.

"They are gathering information, they want to make sure that it's done properly, they want to make sure that all the environmental concerns are met, they want to make sure that people understand this is an open and transparent process."

'We touched base'

Ministers from Ontario and Quebec, two provinces previously critical of the pipeline project, were not available for comment to reporters after the conference. 

Doucet said he did not connect with Quebec's energy minister either.

"It was a pretty intense couple of days," he said.

But he discussed how to make the pipeline "a reality" with Alberta's energy minister, Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, he said.

Alberta's energy minister, Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, said it was important to her to "check in" on the pipeline project. (CBC)

McCuaig-Boyd said it was important to her to "check in" on the pipeline project.

She would not comment on anything specific the two ministers discussed.

"We touched base," she said. "We do that every year with whoever is here in these meetings,

"From our perspective, we know we are doing good things on the climate front and reducing carbon. So we talked about what we are doing in Alberta and what are other ways that we can collaborate."

Pipeline not on agenda

The Energy East pipeline was not mentioned in any of the agenda items for the two-day event.

Instead, the agenda included topics that had to do with building public confidence in resource developments, such as "engaging to build relationships, communicating transparently, advancing science and innovation, and ensuring effective regulations," and "building public confidence in communities directly impacted by resource development."

Ministers also discussed standards to "define how federal, provincial and territorial governments can collaborate to achieve greater harmonization on energy efficiency standards."

A news release on Tuesday announced a new Energy Star program geared to Canada's industrial sector.

The program is an expansion of an existing star program, which certifies products of companies that use less energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants with a star-shaped label.

The energy star for industry certification will be expanded to industries such as auto manufacturers, steel mills, commercial bakeries and the cement and fertilizer industry. 

With files from Connell Smith

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