N.B. premier says Ontario's conditions for Energy East are reasonable
New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant in Fredericton, on Sept.24, 2014. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / James West)
THE CANADIAN PRESS
Published Monday, November 24, 2014 1:03PM AST
Last Updated Monday, November 24, 2014 4:19PM AST
TORONTO -- Conditions that Ontario wants met for its support of the proposed Energy East Pipeline from Alberta to the East Coast won't hinder the project, says New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant.
New Brunswick has backed the $12 billion project, which would see a new export terminal built in Saint John as TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) seeks to connect more than one million barrels of western crude a day to oil refineries in Eastern Canada.
After meeting with Premier Kathleen Wynne on Monday in Toronto, Gallant said the position taken by his counterparts in Ontario and Quebec don't damage the project's prospects.
"I think these principles are very reasonable and very achievable," Gallant said during a conference call.
Wynne and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said last week that greenhouse gas emissions must be considered in the development of the project.
Wynne also wants assurances there will be consultations with First Nations and other communities in the path of the pipeline, an emergency response plan, and guarantees that Ontario's current supply of natural gas is secure.
"We've never moved away from the position that we understand that this is in the best interests of country, that we do it in the right way, and that's what the conversation with Premier Couillard was about, and that's what my conversation with Premier Gallant has been about," Wynne said Monday.
"We understand that we are connected and that Alberta needs to move its resource and Ontario and Quebec and New Brunswick are part of that endeavour, but there are some principles that we need to adhere to," she said.
Gallant said he believes the project can be done securely and benefit provinces across the country.
"We can do this by mitigating any environmental impacts. We can have strong economic benefits for our province and many communities across the country," he said.
TransCanada has filed an application with the National Energy Board to use a repurposed natural gas pipeline to carry crude two thirds of the way across the country and building a new pipe for the rest.
Despite the list of conditions, Gallant said he's optimistic Ontario will support the project because Wynne sees the pipeline as important and beneficial.
"But I will add that this is a reminder that we should not sit on our hands and think that this project is a done deal," he said.
"There is a process that is started and I think we as a province have to continuously show our support in why we think this is a good project."
Peter Watson, chairman of the National Energy Board, has said climate change policy is not within its purview and it doesn't intend for its hearings to become bogged down in that debate.
Watson said reviews must be conducted in a timely manner and he won't hesitate to extend the legislated 15-month time limit if more information is needed or more stakeholders need a chance to be heard.