On behalf of Ignite Fredericton and its Natural Resources Taskforce, Larry Shaw submitted an op-ed in response to TransCanada's request for a 30-day suspension of its NEB application for the Energy East Pipeline:
Challenging & Unpredictable Regulatory Process Puts 14,000 Jobs at Stake
On behalf of Ignite Fredericton, the community’s economic development agency and its Natural Resources Taskforce, we are deeply concerned with the bureaucracy and red tape of Canada’s environmental assessment approval process through the National Energy Board (NEB). The unpredictability and lack of clear timelines has resulted in TransCanada Corporation seeking a 30 day suspension of its NEB application for the Energy East Pipeline / Eastern Mainline project. We are at risk of losing one of the largest economic impact projects in Canada at this time.
Let’s take a hard look at the facts:
- 14,000 jobs nationally / 3,700 high-paying jobs at stake in New Brunswick! (construction and development only)
- $55 billion national economic impact / $6.5 billion GDP in New Brunswick!
- $10 billion in federal/provincial tax revenue with $850 million in provincial tax revenue which pays for public services, facilities and infrastructure.
- Pipelines are a 4.5 times safer means to transport oil than rail according to a Transportation Safety Board report. Has Canada turned a blind eye to the 2013 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 foreign oil imported into Canada daily. Foreign oil that comes from countries with lower environmental standards and controls. 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%. The pipeline will connect continental oil to key refineries like Saint John and world markets.
The unpredictable regularly environment in Canada makes private sector investment challenging.
We fear that TransCanada Corporation has reached its threshold in terms of assessing whether to cut its losses and not lose another dime to this process. TransCanada has already spent $1 billion nationally and $25 million in New Brunswick alone. They have also gone above and beyond in terms of the public consultation process and required issue response.
If we lose this, it will be due to the unpredictable regularly process and lack of political will to balance the conversation with facts. With 65 years of experience and a track record of safely, transporting oil across its North American 4,300 kilometres of pipeline, TransCanada has demonstrated responsible, reliable development and transmission of oil and gas products.
Is this not sufficient testament to the fact that pipelines are safer than rail, and are huge economic engines. This project will employ 14,000 during the construction and development alone plus employ for generations to come during its operation.
We encourage Canadians to support this project, and take a vocal stance with your federal Members of Parliament - write, tweet, lobby - but we cannot be passive with so many jobs at stake!
CEO of Ignite Fredericton on behalf of the Natural Resource Taskforce