Question Period: Environmental Impact Assessment for Energy East Pipeline – Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Environmental Impact Assessment



Mr. Coon: My question is for the Minister of Environment. Under Schedule A of the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulation, any proposal to construct a pipeline exceeding 5 km in length 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. There is no record of TransCanada Pipelines having registered its proposed 412-km pipeline, as required by provincial regulation. Can the minister explain why he has not compelled TransCanada to register its project and pay the required fee?

Hon. Mr. Kenny: We have applied for intervenor status through the National Energy Board, as the Minister of Environment will do with this type of project, which falls under federal jurisdiction. There are also probably at least another 1 800 people throughout Canada who are interested in this project and who have applied. A process is in place, and we will follow that due process, as any other government would do throughout Canada. We will make sure that New Brunswickers’ water and everything else will be safe, in order to protect the environment. My job as Minister of Environment is to protect the environment. We will also make sure that we have a balanced approach, to make sure that we can get this project moving forward and create jobs in the province. Thank you.

Mr. Coon: The pipeline that TransCanada proposes to build will cross over rivers and streams in this province 280 times. It will pass through hundreds of private properties and terminate in a large tank farm in the vicinity of the community of Red Head. New Brunswickers are worried that the pipeline might leak bitumen into our rivers and streams, spill bitumen into people’s fields, and woodlots, and emit hazardous air pollutants from the tank farm at the terminus near Red Head. Why is the minister not insisting that the pipeline proposal be subjected to an environmental impact assessment by his department, as the government of Quebec is requiring in that province?

Hon. Mr. Kenny: We are doing our due diligence. We have many people working on this project to make sure that all our environment, including our rivers, streams, and waterways, will be protected. We will not let anything happen to our environment under this process. This is my commitment to New Brunswickers. It is our government’s commitment to New Brunswickers. We will make sure that we will do it through due process and in a timely manner. Thank you.

Mr. Coon: The due process is to subject it to our own environmental assessment process. The natural gas pipeline built by Emera from Saint John to the U.S. border was a much smaller project, carrying a cleaner product with far fewer river and stream crossings. It was subjected to a review by both the NEB and our own Department of Environment, which imposed some 20 conditions on its approval. After Stephen Harper gutted the federal environmental assessment process and much of Canada’s environmental protection legislation, what could possibly give the minister the confidence that the National Energy Board is going to give a tinker’s dam about what we hold dear in New Brunswick? Thank you.