Business Leaders Blame Regulatory Delays, Changes for Killing Energy East

TransCanada terminates Energy East project

TransCanada's decision to cancel the Energy East pipeline project exposed deep divisions across the political landscape Thursday, highlighting the ever-present clash between energy development and environmental protection.

In late August, the National Energy Board - an independent regulatory agency that oversees worldwide and inter-provincial oil and gas pipelines - announced it would consider upstream and downstream greenhouse gas emissions in determining whether the Energy East pipeline was in the national interest.

The review process is over, but several legal challenges to the pipeline - including over whether the environmental review adequately considered climate impacts - have tied the project up in the courts.

Russ Girling, executive director of the Calgary-based company, said in a statement that he will report to the National Energy Board that TransCanada will not proceed with the requests.

Notley reiterated government support from the Alberta NDP for Energy East since the project was proposed and called on the National Energy Board (NEB) to "send a clear message on what the future of project reviews look like in Canada". It said it had to review an NEB panel's decision to allow consideration of greenhouse gas emissions caused by producing and processing the oil transported in the pipeline, an unprecedented expansion of the scope of the inquiry.

In August, the NEB announced it would expand its assessment of the project into risks associated with potential accidents and system malfunctions that could cause oil spills.

Officials said they made the move after the National Energy Board ruling said the board assessment will include a look at the upstream and downstream greenhouse gases that would be produced by the pipeline.

If approved, the $15.7-billion Energy East project would have have shipped up to 1.1 million barrels of oil per day, over 4,500 kilometres of pipeline between the Prairies and North Dakota to refineries and marine ports in Quebec and New Brunswick. Companies are not eager to invest in expensive tar sands projects unless the price of oil comes back up.

The Eastern Mainland project would have built an additional 279km (175 mile) new gas pipeline in Ontario. Premier Brian Gallant said he believed low crude prices had killed the project.

The company suspended its application on Sep.

Proponents said it presented an opportunity to wean Canada off foreign oil as refineries in Quebec and New Brunswick rely mostly on imports.

"Energy East was a disaster waiting to happen". His government has been trying to balance the oil industry's desire to tap new markets with environmentalists' concerns.

TransCanada said it will record a non-cash charge of about $1 billion in its fourth-quarter financial results, reflecting the reduced carrying value of the projects.

Duplisea says the Chamber had warned that confusion and lack of clarity would lead to the project falling through. "Energy East is just the latest in a growing list of projects that will never see the light of day", he continued. "We still believe that", Gallant said.

The Conseil du Patronat, Quebec's largest employers' group, expressed its disappointment, saying from day one, this project ran into a brick wall of opposition.

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