The company behind the Energy East pipeline says support for its project is not waning, despite the delays and public opposition.
At a media briefing on Thursday in Saint John, TransCanada Corp. officials promised to connect with the neighbours of their $12-billion pipeline.
"We want to share information about this project, we're proud of this project. We feel this project is a very important one,” said company spokesperson Tim Duboyce.
Those neighbours include Leanne Sutton, who has lived in the Red Head area for more than 20 years.
That’s where a tank farm of 18 oil tanks is to be built, according to the project’s plans.
"We're going to be super close and it doesn't matter how the wind blows, it's going to be in our air and that's what I’m going to be breathing,” Sutton said.
Company officials say the tanks will have double-sealed floating roofs and will use the best technology to reduce odours.
But Sutton isn’t buying it. She’s part of the Red Head and Anthony’s Cove Preservation Association, a newly formed group opposing Energy East.
TransCanada says they are reaching out to residents and addressing their concerns with a community liaison committee, which is supposed to meet at least four times per year.
But Sutton says her group is not being heard.
“We're having no input at all. Zero. They don't want to hear from us and they don't want to meet with us,” she said.
The pipeline’s in-service date has been pushed back to 2020, but the company says that’s not a signal that support is lessening.
TransCanada officials say the company has long-term contracts to supply oil to refineries in Quebec and Saint John.
"We have on-going conversations with those shippers. They continue to indicate to us very, very strongly that they’re committed to this project. They want it to go,” said John Van der Put, a vice-president with the company.
If TransCanada gets the go-ahead to build the pipeline, it expects to break ground on the tank farm and marine terminal in Saint John some time in 2018.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron