Energy East getting a free pass in New Brunswick

construction of the gas pipelineOn June 8, 2015 the government of Quebec requested that TransCanada file a project notice for Energy East with the government’s environment department. This request has not been filled and today the government of Quebec launched an injunction against TransCanada to force the company to comply with their environmental rules.

New Brunswick has not asked TransCanada to register Energy East for a provincial environmental impact assessment. Last June, David Coon, MLA for Fredericton South and Leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick filed a complaint with the ombudsman to determine if the Minister of Environment was failing to uphold his regulatory responsibilities. The office of the ombudsman is conducting an investigation on this matter.

Here is the text of that letter:

June 17, 2015

Mr. Charles Murray
Provincial Ombudsman
P.O. Box 6000
Fredericton, NB  E3B 5H1

Dear Mr. Murray:

I am writing to file a complaint regarding the Minister of Environment’s failure to require TransCanada to register its proposed pipeline as an undertaking as required by Reg 87-83 of the Clean Environment Act,  the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulation.

Section 5(1) of Reg 87-83 says: Every undertaking must be registered with the Minister before it is commenced in order for the Minister to determine whether or not the completion of an environmental impact assessment is required in relation to the undertaking.

Section 3(2) of Reg 87-83:  The enterprises, activities, projects, structures, works or programs specified in Schedule A, and any modification, extension, abandonment, demolition or rehabilitation of them are undertakings for the purposes of this regulation.

Schedule A includes:
(h) all pipelines exceeding five kilometres in length

TransCanada Corporation’s Energy East Pipeline has not been registered with the Minister, and he has not compelled it to do so.  This is a serious concern.  The Province of Quebec recently announced it will subject the Energy East Pipeline to its environmental impact assessment process.

The New Brunswick portion of this pipeline is 412 km in length. It will cross 280 watercourses and hundreds of private properties in our province, terminating in a tank farm adjacent to the community of Red Head which will emit hazardous air pollutants into the local airshed.

The pipeline will transport dilbit, a mixture of bitumen and hazardous chemicals, along with various grades of crude oil.  I would appreciate it if you could determine whether the Minister of Environment has had failed to carry out his regulatory responsibilities in this matter.

Yours truly,

David Coon
Leader, Green Party
MLA, Fredericton-South