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The Energy East pipeline was a proposed oil pipeline in Canada. It would deliver diluted bitumen from Western Canada and North Western United States to Eastern Canada, from receipt points in Alberta, Saskatchewan and North Dakota[1] to refineries and port terminals in New Brunswick and possibly Quebec. The TC PipeLines project would convert about 3,000 kilometres of natural gas pipeline, which currently carries natural gas from Alberta to the Ontario-Quebec border, to diluted bitumen transportation. New pipeline, pump stations, and tank facilities would also be constructed. The CA$12 billion pipeline would be the longest in North America when complete.

The project was announced publicly on August 1, 2013, while the Keystone XL pipeline proposal was being debated. In October 2014, TransCanada Pipelines filed its formal project application with the National Energy Board. At the same time a number of groups announced their intention to oppose the pipeline.[2] TransCanada cancelled the project on October 5, 2017.[3]


Project descriptionEdit

The entire length would be 4,600 kilometres with approximately 70 percent being existing pipeline (3,000 kilometres) that would be converted from carrying natural gas to carrying diluted bitumen. The original project proposal included a marine oil export terminal in Cacouna, Quebec, but that configuration was abandoned due to the impact it would have on a beluga whale habitat.[4] The project would have a capacity of 1.1 million barrels (~200,000 tonnes) of crude oil per day.[5]

Irving Oil announced plans to build a new $300-million terminal at its Canaport facility in Saint John to export the oil delivered from the pipeline.[6]


Energy East has generated controversy in various areas. Some communities through which it is proposed to pass (notably North Bay, Kenora, Thunder Bay)[7] oppose it categorically.

The proposed route crosses the territory of 180 aboriginal / indigenous groups,[8] most of which are strongly against it.[9] Each of the 180 may[clarification needed] in law have a veto under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau has vowed to sign and uphold.[10] This veto is supported by some Canadian oil extraction corporations such as Suncor.[11]

In partial response to these concerns, the NEB will hear aboriginal oral evidence [12] from 70 specific intervenors.[13]

The project is also strongly opposed by some Canadians on scientific grounds. The Pembina Institute released a report urging the National Energy Board consider the impact on carbon emissions, estimating the project's upstream impact as being between 30 and 32 million tonnes of carbon emissions per year.[14][15] This position was supported by the Governments of Ontario and Quebec, who want the impact of the project on greenhouse gases examined as part of the National Energy Board review process, but do not oppose the project in principle.[16] The Ontario Energy Board [17] also has right to assert its own conditions and jurisdiction, but has not as yet.

Another controversial aspect is a new supertanker complex at the eastern end of the pipeline near Quebec city. Exploratory work was put on hold for a month after the Quebec Superior Court found that the Quebec environment ministry had not considered the impact of the project on beluga whales in the area.[18] A public opinion poll held in Quebec found only one-third of Québécois supported the pipeline, while it is supported by the one-half of Canadians outside of Quebec.[19]

Project endorsements and process concernsEdit

The project is endorsed by the Liberal Government of New Brunswick[20] and claimed to create over 2000 construction jobs in a province with 11% unemployment.[citation needed] Former Conservative Party of Canada Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper endorsed the project, as does the Government of Alberta.[21] This endorsement was renewed by NDP Premier of Alberta Rachel Notley[22] after her election in 2015. The Legislature of Saskatchewan unanimously endorsed a motion supporting the pipeline in November 2014, and the Premier of Saskatchewan Brad Wall called on Prime Minister Harper "to take leadership in supporting TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline".[16] Accordingly, the provincial governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick are in support. Wall and Notley have taken the position that Ontario and Quebec cannot "veto" the pipeline.[23]

The Maliseet First Nations raised concerns about the project during National Energy Board board hearings, but the six Maliseet first nations did not take a unified position on the project at that point, saying that were reserving judgment pending the results of a traditional land use study and technical review.[24] TransCanada said that it would "strive to reach consent" with the First Nations to avoid and mitigate any possible adverse effects of the Energy East pipeline.[25]

Wall's (but not Notley's) position is that provincial equalization can be withheld from provinces that do not support it.[26] Ontario and Quebec have imposed approval conditions on Energy East [27] but dropped climate change concerns [28] in December 2014.

Since the election of Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister in the 2015 Canadian federal election and the replacement of Conservative with Liberal Party of Canada MPs along the entire route of the pipeline in New Brunswick (replacing former pro-pipeline MPs) and part of the route in Quebec, the Canadian federal position is unclear. The Prime Minister has strongly condemned the Harper-era process of regulation, citing serious conflict of interest and mandate flaws,[29] and also promised to "work with the provinces to map out a plan to reduce Canada's collective carbon footprint within 90 days of taking office by putting a price on carbon pollution." Other Harper-era approvals such as Northern Gateway have been sharply criticized [30] and even called a "farce" by some public officials objecting to lack of oral cross-examination.[31]


  1. ^ Shields, Alexandre (March 15, 2016). "Du pétrole américain pour Énergie Est". Le Devoir (in French). Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  2. ^ Krugel, Lauren (7 September 2014). "As Energy East pipeline application nears, communities weigh risks and benefits". CTV News. Bell Media. The Canadian Press. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  3. ^, CBC News (October 5, 2017).
  4. ^ Geoffrey Morgan (April 2, 2015). "TransCanada Corp's decision to shelve Quebec oil terminal plans may delay Energy East pipeline by two years". Financial Post. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  5. ^ "Energy East News Release" (Press release). TransCanada. August 1, 2013.
  6. ^ The Canadian Press (August 4, 2013). "Irving Oil to build new terminal for Energy East Pipeline project". Global News. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  7. ^ "Energy East facing many foes: land owners, enviros, Aboriginals and politicians". The Vancouver Observer. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  8. ^ "Energy companies struggle with aboriginal needs on pipelines". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  9. ^ "First Nations prepare for fight against Energy East pipeline". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  10. ^ "Trudeau and Mulcair make pitches at AFN assembly in Montreal". Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  11. ^ "Resources firms endorse call for aboriginal veto rights to projects". Myinforms. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  12. ^ "National Energy Board to hear oral Aboriginal traditional evidence for Energy East Project". The Business Journals. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  13. ^ National Energy Board (16 July 2015). "NEB issues list of Aboriginal Intervenors for Energy East". Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  14. ^ McCarthy, Shawn (February 6, 2014). "Pipeline protesters turn focus to Energy East". The Globe and Mail.
  15. ^ Climate Implications of the Proposed Energy East Pipeline (Report). The Pembina Institute. February 6, 2014.
  16. ^ a b Zilio, Michelle (November 30, 2014). "Harper should take lead with Energy East pipeline, Sask. premier says". CTV News.
  17. ^ "Energy East: "Treaty and Aboriginal rights must be respected"". The Canadian Progressive. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  18. ^ "Energy East pipeline terminal delayed by protests in Quebec". The Council of Canadians. October 20, 2014.
  19. ^ Beaudin, Monique (November 19, 2014). "Poll shows few Quebecers support Energy East pipeline". Montreal Gazette.
  20. ^ "New Brunswick, Alberta join forces to push Energy East pipeline". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  21. ^ Jane Taber (August 9, 2013). "Harper hails west-east pipeline as N.B. seeks to halt exodus of workers". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  22. ^ Chris Fournier and Aoyon Ashraf and Jeremy van Loon, Bloomberg News (30 September 2015). "Alberta's Notley says she supports Trans Mountain, Energy East pipelines". Financial Post. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  23. ^ Don Braid, Postmedia News (17 July 2015). "Rachel Notley calls out Brad Wall: There are better ways to promote Energy East than 'having a tantrum' - National Post". National Post. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  24. ^ Maliseet First Nations voice concerns on Energy East pipeline, CBC News (August 16, 2016).
  25. ^ TransCanada will 'strive to reach consent,' and avoid, mitigate any potential effects, VP tells public hearing, CBC News (August 10, 2016).
  26. ^ Don Braid, Postmedia News (16 July 2015). "Don Braid: Brad Wall is right: provinces need to get out of the way of pipeline approvals". National Post. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  27. ^ "TransCanada chief slams 'ludicrous' arguments by Energy East opponents". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  28. ^ "Wynne drops main climate change requirement in considering Energy East pipeline". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  29. ^ "Liberals would bolster National Energy Board reviews: Trudeau". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  30. ^
  31. ^ "Kinder Morgan pipeline hearings a 'farce,' says former BC Hydro head". 3 November 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2016.