Today, a group of professional opponents staged the hand-delivery of messages to the National Energy Board (NEB), demanding that Canada’s energy regulator considers greenhouse gas emissions produced by the oil sector as a whole when it reviews our application to build the Energy East Pipeline Project.
When provinces build a new highway to provide commuters with better access to communities, governments do not take into account the greenhouse gas emitted from vehicles that will use it for travel. They examine the direct impacts that building the highway could have along the route.
The Energy East pipeline, cannot account on its own for the green gas emissions from oil before it entered the pipe (production) and after it left it (refining and consumption). Making people believe this should be the case is a misleading argument.
An unrealistic stance
These groups don’t have an issue with the pipeline itself. What they would like is to shut down the oil industry, which is unrealistic. Oil goes into gasoline, of course, but many more of our daily life’s essentials such as mobile phones, synthetic fabrics for clothing and detergents. It also goes into life-saving products like heart valves and surgical gloves.
Phasing out oil from our lives would be disastrous for humanity. Oil and the advancements it has brought have helped cure diseases. Oil helps transport our food every day. It supports our economy and the lifestyle that many of us take for granted.
The entire oil sands industry, which employs tens of thousands of people and generates billions of dollars of wealth for our country, contributes only 0.1 per cent of global greenhouse emissions.
Preventing energy transport infrastructure projects in Canada from happening only means that oil will continue to flow into our country but from other places – where human rights records and environmental regulations are nowhere near the high norms and standards established in this country.
Instead of fighting us, these groups should work with us on ways to continue to improve the industry’s environmental record. At TransCanada, we work every day to minimize our environmental footprint while fulfilling our obligation to meet the continent’s growing demand for reliable energy.
We have invested more than $5 billion in emission-less energy sources, including the development of the largest wind farms in Canada and Maine, nine solar generation facilities in Ontario and several hydro facilities along the Connecticut River in the northeastern part of the United States.
TransCanada also specializes in building highly-efficient natural gas-fired power plants that are helping to replace coal-fired plants – which make up about a quarter of U.S. greenhouse emissions in the United States. These are aspects of our business that the Council of Canadians and Greenpeace rarely mention.
It’s been proven that pipelines are the best way to transport oil both in terms of safety records and environmental footprint.
In October 2014, we filed our Energy East application to the NEB. The document contained 30,000-pages – the result of more than 18 months of environmental studies, engineering work and public consultation – making it one of the most comprehensive regulatory filings in the history of Canada’s energy transportation industry.
Several thousand pages were dedicated to third-party analyses on the impact Energy East may have on the atmospheric and acoustic environments, surface water and groundwater resources, marine wildlife and their habitat or vegetation and wetlands. We studied all these and proposed measures to mitigate any impact.
We did this not just because we have to, but because we want to. We are committed to protecting the environment in which we operate. This is one of our core values as a company. Professional opponents are wrong to believe they alone care for the environment. We also care, and this care drives the way we develop and operate every single project. Energy East will be no exception!