The TransCanada Energy East pipeline project, which is entirely private-sector funded, is valued at over $15 billion. As of this past August, it was in the review stage by the country's regulator, the National Energy Board (NEB) with an anticipated recommendation by March 2018. As of August, the NEB hearing process was suspended by the federal government as it moves to replace three NEB board members. As a result, the entire process and project will be pushed back even further - delaying thousands of jobs and investment in this province.
TransCanada’s pipeline will transport oil more safely from Alberta to Saint John and eastern Canadian refineries. This will reduce our region's heavy dependence on more expensive and less reliable imported oil from countries like Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Venezuela - to name but a few, countries whose human and democratic rights leave a great deal to be desired.
In October, there was also a number of environmental activists from the United States, who shut down five major pipelines carrying crude oil from Canada to the United States. This, in an effort to send a message of opposition to Alberta's (and Canada's) oil industry, at a time when the industry is seeking approval to proceed with major development projects. One of the pipelines impacted was TransCanada's keystone pipeline in North Dakota, which had to be shut down following a disruption.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time environmental activists have impacted a TransCanada project.
As far as Ignite Fredericton's Natural Resource Task Force is concerned, that review process cannot restart soon enough, so that the region can benefit from the supply chain opportunities and economic benefits outlined below.
In the Greater Fredericton area, we have an abundance of highly skilled and highly talented workers available for the Energy East project as well as for the Sisson Mine Project (tungsten and molybdenum) in Central New Brunswick. To date, TransCanada has invested over $40 million in its New Brunswick Energy East Project, while over $50 million has been invested in the Sisson Mine project. Both projects, which would bring desperately needed jobs and increased economic activity to our region and our province, are bogged down in what seems like interminable regulatory approval processes. It is one thing to have due process, it is a whole other thing to get paralyzed by it to the point where your economic and social well-being are put at risk.
While ensuring we do everything we possibly can to protect our health and our environment, as well as everything we can to mitigate against potential risks, it is high time we move forward with these projects once and for all.
Our province, our region and our country need them!
Chair-Natural Resources Task Force