Nothing is more respectful than listening to others; at least that’s how we feel here at TransCanada.
That’s why today, we announced a decision to alter the scope of the Energy East project to include the removal of a planned marine terminal and tank farm at Cacouna, Quebec. It’s a decision that’s part of TransCanada’s continued commitment to stakeholder consultation, environmental stewardship and community safety. “We want Canadians to know that we have and will continue to listen,” said Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and chief executive officer. “Our goal has always been to strike a balance between TransCanada’s commitment to minimizing environmental impacts and the imperative to build modern infrastructure to transport the crude oil Canadians need and consume every day—and that is what we plan to do.”
When the federal Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) recommended that beluga whales in the Saint Lawrence Estuary be reclassified as an endangered species, in December of last year, the Energy East Pipeline team took action.
We immediately stopped all work near Cacouna. The next few months led to further in-depth discussions with environmental experts, the Quebec government, commercial partners and other stakeholders to better understand the implications of the change in status. The result was an accumulation of all the information and comments from these key organizations and groups.
We have always said regarding the beluga whale and other species that if the project presented a material impact, we would be prepared to adjust it in order to eliminate or mitigate that impact, just like we have done in many other instances since planning began two years ago. This is why we have held 115 open houses in the past two years and engaged over 13,000 Canadians – local residents, municipal officials, landowners and First Nations and Métis communities.
The decision therefore, was based on feedback we received from our stakeholders and from the technical analysis our environmental consultants made of the COSEWIC report. We analyzed the facts and adjusted our project accordingly.
It goes without saying but we’ll say it anyway, our decision was certainly not made because of opposition from some well-funded groups that want to deny Canadians the right to benefit from a reliable domestic supply of energy that ensures Canadians enjoy the quality of life they’ve come to expect in this country every day.
TransCanada has been engaging with stakeholders and building community relationship far longer than before some of these organizations began. Make no mistake: our stakeholder engagement program is extensive and comprehensive for a reason. That reason is simple: We are a company that cares about the environment and about the communities we operate in—that has been our practice for more than 60 years and nothing about that will change.
TransCanada is currently reviewing potential alternative terminal options in Québec. We will take the necessary time to finalize other changes to the project as we move forward. This is something we won’t take lightly. We need to ensure we find solutions that are beneficial to all parties involved.
A Project that’s Good for Canada
Energy East represents a great opportunity to establish a reliable supply of primarily Western Canadian crude oil for refineries in Quebec and New Brunswick that currently depend on imports from oil producing nations that do not share our values on environmental stewardship, human rights, labour protection and the rule of law.
The project will also support 14,000 direct and indirect full-time jobs across the country. Thousands of these jobs will be in Quebec. They include the land surveyors who have helped us establish our proposed pipeline route as well as the welders, pipefitters, carpenters, electricians, truck drivers, crane and bulldozer operators, foremen, project managers, safety inspectors, and so many others who will work in the trench to build the pipeline. There will be work too for local businesses that will supply accommodation services, food, clothes or car rentals to our construction workers.
Dozens of Canadian companies stand to benefit from the project, like Quebec-based pipefitting manufacturers Ezeflow and Canadoil Forge. Both companies have worked with TransCanada for over two decades and will be able to hire more welders and machinists as a result of Energy East.
Energy East will spur billions of dollars in economic activity across the country along with an estimated $7 billion in additional tax revenues the pipeline will generate in the first 20 years of operation for local, provincial and federal governments. This will provide our governments with a steady new source of revenue that may be used to build critical public infrastructure such as hospitals or new roads.
The Next Steps:
TransCanada will be advising the NEB that the company will not be proceeding with a marine terminal in Cacouna and is evaluating other options. Any amendments to the applications for Energy East reflecting the outcome of that evaluation are expected to be filed with the NEB in the fourth quarter of 2015. The result of this alteration to the project scope and further refinement of the project schedule is expected to result in an in-service date of 2020.
TransCanada will do everything it takes to do this right and deliver a world-class infrastructure project that safely transports the oil that millions of Canadians rely on in their everyday life. In the meantime, we will continue to share the facts about this great project – the economic benefits it will create and the safety measures the project team will implement during the construction and operation of the pipeline.
But most of all, TransCanada will continue to listen.