Canadian premiers say Energy East pipeline a 'nation-building' exercise

Canadian premiers say Energy East pipeline a 'nation-building' exercise

Oil sands in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Alberta Premier Jim Prentice met his Ontario peer Kathleen Wynne Wednesday as he presses for approval of TransCanada’s (NYSE, TSE:TRP) proposed Energy East pipeline, which would pass through the Central Canadian province.

After their first face-to-face meeting they sounded conciliatory, saying they consider the controversial $12 billion project as a “nation-building” exercise.

Prentice Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard released last month a list of seven conditions for the proposed pipeline, which would carry western crude to refineries located on the opposite side of the country. The most important of them is the potential impact of the pipeline on the environment.

But Wynne, reports Canadian Press, says her concerns about the pipeline's contribution to climate change are limited to greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario and in Quebec from the pipeline project itself.

She added that the seven principles do not extend to “so-called upstream emissions resulting from getting the crude out of the ground, refining and burning it.”

Prentice had said on Monday that all Canadians would “feel the pain” unless several oil sands pipelines — including Energy East — are approved and built.

TransCanada’s proposal is to convert one of its existing natural-gas pipelines into a 4,600-kilometre oil pipeline — dubbed Energy East — that would carry 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta to refineries and terminals in Quebec and New Brunswick. The $12-billion plan includes building hundreds of kilometres of new pipeline in Quebec.

Canadian premiers talk oil sands pipelines environmental concerns

Energy East pipeline project's proposed route.