Energy East pipeline case suspended

Monday, September 11, 2017

The developed of a proposed C$15.75 billion Canadian oil pipeline has asked Canadian regulators to temporarily suspend their review of the project, following the regulator's decision to consider the project's indirect greenhouse gas emissions and other factors as part of its environmental review.

At issue are the proposed Energy East Pipeline and the related Eastern Maineline Project, proposed by affiliates of TransCanada Corp. to transport "about 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to the refineries of Eastern Canada and a marine terminal in New Brunswick" and to ensure natural gas supply to utilities in Ontario and Quebec.  In 2014, the developed applied to Canada's National Energy Board for approvals required for the 4,500-kilometer project's development.

That case remains pending, but a recent decision about the scope of environmental review has prompted the developer to ask for a temporary pause of the case. On August 23, 2017, the National Energy Board released its final decision establishing a List of Issues and Environmental Assessment Factors to be considered in its review of the projects.  The factors set for consideration include greenhouse gas emissions.  While the Board's environmental factors typically include only direct greenhouse gas emissions -- those emitted by the project itself -- including indirect emissions -- in this case the Board decided to include indirect greenhouse gas emissions as well:
Given increasing public interest in GHG emissions, together with increasing governmental actions and commitments (including the federal government’s stated interest in assessing upstream GHG emissions associated with major pipelines), the Board is of the view that it should also consider indirect GHG emissions in its NEB Act public interest determination for each of the Projects.
On September 7, the applicants filed a letter requesting a 30-day suspension of the Board's review process to give applicants time to "review the Decision, the resulting implications to the Projects, and the respective Project applications."  The next day, the Board issued a ruling that it "will not issue further decisions or take further process steps relating to the review of the Projects until 8 October 2017."

The case remains suspended until that time. 

No comments:

Post a Comment