A Senate committee report on how best to transport crude oil within Canada has endorsed expanding pipeline infrastructure.
The report includes a “non-binding” recommendation to extend the proposed end point of the Energy East pipeline from Saint John to Canso, N.S.
“It is closer to European markets by ship,” said Nova Scotia senator and committee member Terry Mercer. “It would help stabilize tanker traffic in the Bay of Fundy and and it even opens up the possibility of running spur lines to underused refineries in the Halifax-Dartmouth area.”
Mercer said that would allow Nova Scotia to share in the pipeline’s economic possibilities and be safer.
“More oil in Saint John means more tankers in the Bay of Fundy which is so important to our fisheries and tourism industries in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick”
Saint John’s representative in Ottawa is not supportive of the idea.
Saint John-Rothesay MP Wayne Long said in a statement from Ottawa that Energy East “has always been focused on ending in Saint John,” adding that he “would continue to advocate for this proposal every day in Ottawa.”
New Brunswick Energy Minister Rick Doucet, also in a statement, said the government believes Saint John is the logical end point for the pipeline.
Lynaya Astephan of Saint John has lobbied against the pipeline altogether and appeared before the Senate committee.
“This is an idea that a Nova Scotia senator has,” Astephan said. “I really don’t think that this is a report that people should take seriously, unfortunately. It’s just another Senate expense that is wasted tax dollars”.
TransCanada, which would build the proposed pipeline, declined an interview saying it’s not the company’s role to assess or judge the regulatory process.