No one has a stronger interest than we do in ensuring the safety of our pipelines and the protection of the environment. When we talk about the need to build the Energy East Pipeline, a project that would create thousands of jobs and strengthen our country’s energy security, we know that none of this matters if we can’t do it safely. The truth is we can.
Some people oppose the economic benefits that the construction and operation of Energy East would generate to perceived environmental risks, as if they were asked to trade one for the other. The truth is, we need this oil and pipelines are by far the safest way to transport it. At TransCanada, we have made safety our number one priority for more than 60 years. We know our business, and your trust in us, depend on our ability to safely deliver the energy that millions of you rely on each day.
This is why we spend billions of dollars in technology and programs to make pipelines as safe as possible. In fact, in the past three years alone, we have invested over $900 million in the safety and integrity of our pipelines. What does this money go into? Conducting regular in-line inspections is just one example. We routinely launch into our systems smart PIGs equipped with hundreds of electronic sensors that inspect the quality of the pipeline inside and out to identify even the tiniest crack, flaw or sign of corrosion.
“There is such an important push on safety in the industry,” said New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant at the end of 2014 during a visit of TransCanada’s state-of-the-art Control Centre, which monitors our 70,000-kilometre (km) pipeline network 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to ensure the safe movement of oil and gas throughout North America. “It’s very clear when we come into the Control Centre here that safety is always top of mind, and I think this is very reassuring to myself and very reassuring to the people in New Brunswick,” he added.
Approximately 415 of the 4,500-km-long Energy East pipeline will be built in New Brunswick.
From the selection of high-quality steel and construction materials we use, the cathodic protection system that prevents external corrosion of the pipe, the radiographic inspection of each weld made during construction, to the shut-off valves that we implement near sensitive areas such as major water bodies or train crossings, or the aerial patrols we conduct over the right of way; we will ensure that Energy East is built to operate safely.
Over the past two years, we have carried out numerous environmental studies to find the best route possible for Energy East. There are many sensitive areas in New Brunswick and we, like you, cherish those. We have changed our proposed pipeline route to avoid some of those not because we thought there was a risk but because we listen to local residents, landowners and First Nation communities and we want to be good neighbours.
TransCanada has a proven track record of being able to support jobs and economic development around its pipeline routes, and doing it with very little impact on the environment. This is what we will do with Energy East, in New Brunswick and all along the rest of the pipeline.