On May 29th, Ignite Fredericton's Natural Resources Task Force filed the following letter as a NEB commentator:
May 29, 2017
Ms. Sheri Young
Secretary of the Board
National Energy Board
Suite 210, 517 Tenth Avenue SW
Calgary, AB T2R 0A8
Dear Ms. Young:
Re: File No. OF-Fac-Oil-E266-2014-01 02
As a registered ‘Commenter’ of the National Energy Board’s hearing process for the Energy East project, Ignite Fredericton (economic development agency for New Brunswick’s Capital Region), is deeply dismayed with the August 2016 outcome to restart the NEB hearing process, as it delays much needed jobs in an economically disadvantaged region of the country.
Given the potential economic impact of major natural resource development projects in New Brunswick ($7.2 billion), Ignite formed a Natural Resources Development Task Force to leverage and cultivate opportunities with respect to these projects. Energy East pipeline is one of the most significant of these projects creating thousands of jobs.
Nine months after the delayed hearing process, the NEB has recently released an expanded list of issues to be considered as part of the review with new items including:
- Potential impacts of the project on Canada’s upstream and downstream greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
- Potential environmental and socio-economic effects of the construction and operation of power lines required for the project.
- Potential environmental and socio-economic effects of changes to marine shipping resulting from the project.
- Potential impacts that government GHG strategies, policies, laws and regulations (including ceilings and pricing) may have on the availability of oil supply and market underpinning the need for the project, and its economic and financial considerations.
This longer list of items proposed by the panel will further delay this project, which was originally filed with the NEB in October 2014.
While we recognize the importance of adhering to safety and environmental review, this process must be streamlined, and executed in a fair, reasonable and timely manner. We offer the following comments with respect to some items outlined above:
- With the federal government already announcing that potential GHG emissions related to Energy East would be examined by Environment & Climate Change Canada under a separate review, we are perplexed as to why this is required under the NEB’s review process.
- With respect to powerline lines to support the project, this creates a duplicative process with requirements at the provincial level.
- Including the impact of potential future government policies or legislation on GHG emissions is unfair and unworkable given this is a broader political question, and not one for a regulatory review of a single project.
We would also like to use this opportunity to emphasize what Energy East means for Canada and New Brunswick:
- Compared to rail, the pipeline would be a 4.5 times safer means to transport oil, and connect western and eastern Canada - according to a report by the Transportation Safety Board. We only need to look back to 2013 with the Lac Megantic rail disaster...
- Displacement of 1,600 rail cars moving oil across Canada daily. With Canada’s oil sands projected to grow by 850,000 barrels by 2021 according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the country needs a safer, less carbon intensive means to transport increased production.
- Energy independence replacing 759,000 barrels of oil imported into Canada daily. Even as we shift to a lower carbon economy, according to the International Energy Agency, by 2040, global energy demand will increase by 31% increasing the demand for oil by 12%.
For the economic betterment of Canada through the creation of thousands of job and increasing provincial GDPs, we strongly urge that the list of issues be addressed in an expedited, streamlined manner removing duplicative processes. These delays are having significant consequences, and will be a deterrent to attract future investment to Canada.
CEO - Ignite Fredericton and Natural Resource Development Task Force