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NEB announces timeline for Energy East decision

The Council of Canadians Fredericton chapter protesting the Energy East pipeline during a Trudeau election campaign appearance in their community, Sept. 8, 2015.

We now know more about the timeline for the Energy East pipeline.

The Canadian Press reports, “The National Energy Board’s final report on the Energy East pipeline project should be completed by March 2018, the federal regulator announced [on April 26]. Consultations with communities along the proposed pipeline route will begin this August and a preliminary timeline has the report being issued 19 months later. The fate of the pipeline ultimately rests with the federal government, which will take the NEB’s final report into account before announcing a decision on the project.”

According to an NEB media release, the schedule may be as follows:

Mid-May 2016 — Filing of Consolidated Application by Energy East Pipeline Ltd.

Early June 2016 — Issuance of List of Participants

Mid-June 2016 — Issuance of Hearing Order (including completeness determination)

August-December 2016 — Panel Sessions in communities along pipeline route

January-May 2017 — Written Process for Participants

Mid 2017 — Draft Conditions for Comment

November-December 2017 — Final Argument

March 2018 — NEB Report to Governor in Council [which is a term for the federal cabinet]

In April 2015, TransCanada projected that the pipeline would be in service in 2020.

The Council of Canadians opposes the Energy East pipeline.

If approved, the 4,500 kilometre pipeline would move 1.1 million barrels of oil per day. It would cross about 2,900 waterways and put at risk the source of drinking water for about 5 million people. The crude production needed to fill the Energy East pipeline would generate an additional 30 to 32 million tonnes of carbon pollution each year — the equivalent of adding more than seven million cars to our roads. It would spur 650,000 to 750,000 barrels per day of additional production from the tar sands. That would mean about a 40 per cent expansion of the tar sands. Nearly all of the 1.1 million barrels a day of crude oil the pipeline would carry would be exported unrefined. Those exports would increase the number of oil tankers in the Bay of Fundy from 115 to 281 a year. Right whales in the Bay of Fundy are already stressed from current levels of traffic and this would worsen that situation.

Science has told us that no more than 7.5 billion barrels of oil can be extracted from the tar sands over the next 35 years to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. The Energy East pipeline would move 1,100,000 barrels of oil a day. That means about 401,500,000 barrels per year. If the limit that can be drawn from the tar sands is 7,500,000,000 then that limit would be reached in about 19 years. That means Canada would hit its carbon budget within two decades with only the Energy East pipeline (no other pipelines, no other tar sands production). It would be even fewer years with a 1.5 degrees Celsius limit committed to in the Paris climate agreement. As such, the pipeline is fundamentally incompatible with the imperative of limiting global warming.

In December 2014, Justin Trudeau commented, “I hope [TransCanada] will develop a means to reassure and demonstrate that [Energy East] can be done in a responsible fashion.” And in November 2015, the Globe and Mail reported, “The Liberals under Mr. Trudeau have supported TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone project, which offered Canadian oil producers a bigger conduit to ship their product to the U.S. market, but [foreign affairs minister Stephane] Dion said they also back another TransCanada crude export proposal: the Energy East pipeline. There has been confusion over the Liberal policy on Energy East … but Mr. Dion said the government is willing to get behind the project. ‘We support this … but we want that to be done properly…'”

For more on our campaign to stop the Energy East pipeline, please click here.