In response to the Ontario Energy Board’s press conference this morning regarding the Energy East Project, TransCanada would like to provide some additional thoughts as we continue to advance this important project (Related: Building a critical infrastructure project for Ontario and Canada).
First, TransCanada welcomes the OEB’s report. The report is the result of the OEB’s Energy East Consultation and Review, undertaken at the request of Ontario’s Minister of Energy in November 2013.
The Energy East Pipeline project is in the early stages of the design and regulatory process overseen by the National Energy Board (NEB). As such, certain aspects of the project will continue to be refined based on technical studies planned or underway, as well as the results of extensive ongoing public consultations.
Currently, Eastern Canada imports more than 600,000 barrels a day that could be displaced from a secure supply right here in Canada in the safest possible way—by pipeline. Independent studies confirm that pipelines are by far the safest mode of transporting large volumes of energy over long distances, including the latest research report released today from the Fraser Institute.
With respect to the economic benefits anticipated from the Energy East project, a report released by the Conference Board of Canada late last year reveals that Energy East will add $15 billion to Ontario’s economy, create 4,200 jobs in Ontario during construction and contribute $50 million in property taxes each year to Ontario municipalities. Currently, the Energy East project has already spent more than $30 million with local suppliers and partners right here in Ontario, including partnering with General Electric (GE) to build electric motors that will secure over 250 local jobs at their Ontario Peterborough plant in Ontario and through their supply chain.
To date, TransCanada has hosted 40 open houses in Ontario communities attended by more than 3,000 local residents and participated in nearly 800 meetings with First Nation communities across the province.
In response to community and stakeholder feedback, TransCanada announced in April that it is accelerating the development and roll out of emergency response plans with local agencies along the Energy East pipeline route and has already held approximately 20 emergency response meetings with local officials to begin program planning. As a result, the Energy East project will submit prepared plans to the NEB much earlier than the regulatory process requires.
Furthermore, yesterday, TransCanada signed an electricity agreement with Red Rock Indian Band in northwestern Ontario that would allow Energy East and the community to work toward a long-term economic benefit for the community. TransCanada has also signed 30 Community and Engagement Funding Agreements (CEFAs) in Ontario, including Grand Council Treaty 3 and Metis Nation of Ontario.
The project has already received significant support from Ontarians, including 34 positive municipal resolutions and support from groups as diverse as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Building Trades unions and the Asthma Society of Canada (Related: 15 manufacturers and industry and labour organizations unite to support Energy East).