With the federal government laying down billions to save the Trans Mountain pipeline in western Canada, there’s a movement out east to restart a pipeline project of their own.
The Energy East pipeline was scrapped after TransCanada decided to back out. The decision disappointed many who felt the project would’ve provided a widespread economic boost.
The idea of bringing the pitch back resurfaced after the federal government committed $4.5 billion to ensure the Trans Mountain pipeline is completed.
But Saint John MP Wayne Long says despite the enthusiasm, a reality check is needed.
“There is no Energy East,” Long stated. “TransCanada would have to apply and go through a regulatory process to have a pipeline approved. So those who say, ‘You spent money west, just spend it on Energy East,’ there’s nothing to spend it on.”
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Long says TransCanada is spending its resources on other projects, and it’s simply a business decision. He adds the Irving refinery in Saint John would only use a fraction of the oil sands product, and most would be exported to foreign markets.
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil has jumped into the debate, suggesting the pipeline should expand into his province.
“The safest way to move this product is through a pipeline,” McNeil said. “I get the fact there needs to be consultation, there are challenges associated with communities, but how do we work to move that forward on the benefit of the nation?”
Jim Quinn of the Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce says regardless of whether Energy East is revisited, he likes the decision to invest in the Trans Mountain project in Western Canada.
“We have to remember, getting our Canadian oil to foreign markets where there is higher value backs into the companies that raise revenues and pay taxes.”
Meanwhile, Long says despite the challenges, he’s pushing for continued discussions with TransCanada.