Quebec sets conditions for TransCanada as poll shows falling support for pipeline
Quebec Environment Minister David Heurtel has set seven conditions TransCanada (NYSE, TSE:TRP) will have to meet before the provincial government lets the company run a portion of its massive Energy East pipeline project trough Canada’s east-central province.
The move, reported by Radio-Canada (in French), comes on the same day the Université de Montréal published the results of a poll showing that only a third of Quebec’s residents support the controversial project.
According to the Canadian broadcaster the provisions outlined by Quebec in a letter to TransCanada CEO Russel K. Girling are:
- A full environmental assessment that looks at impact of the project on greenhouse gas emissions.
- A thorough emergency plan that includes a compensation fund in case of a spill.
- The company must consult nearby communities on potential social impacts of the project.
- The pipeline project must respect the highest technical standards to assure public safety and protection of the environment
- The project must satisfy issues dealing with First Nations and must involve them wherever needed
- The project must generate economic benefits for all of Quebec, especially in job creation in areas where the pipeline will be located.
- Make sure there is no impact to Quebec’s natural gas supply.
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.
When asked about it, Canadians are more inclined to let the eastern pipeline go than give the thumbs up to the other TransCanada’s high-profile project: Keystone XL.
“Within Canada, support for Keystone XL was highest in Alberta (58%). At 50%, Trans Canada’s Energy East project has greater support than Keystone XL, but opinions vary substantially across regions. At the high end, 68% of citizens in Alberta support the project, compared to a low of 33% of citizens in Quebec,” the U de M poll, conducted last month, shows.
The researchers also compared the answers given by Canadians and Americans and concluded that while 52% of the U.S.-based interviewees support Keystone XL, a similar amount of Canadians (44%) oppose the project.
Quebec’s demands for the project, which TransCanada calls Energy East, come just days after a failed vote in the U.S. Senate aimed at forcing presidential approval of the long-delayed and highly contested Keystone pipeline, which would move crude from the Alberta oil sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Top image from Wikimedia Commons