TransCanada Kills Energy East Pipeline Days Before Suspension Expires

TransCanada has announced that it has killed the controversial Energy East pipeline and Eastern Mainline projects. The Globe and Mail reported the breaking news on October 5 after the pipeline company spent a month deliberating new requirements set out by the National Energy Board.

Russ Girling, the president and chief executive officer of TransCanada, said that the "changed circumstances" forced the company to abandon their plan to build the $15.7 billion Energy East pipeline. Originally formally announced in 2013, the project was intended to carry dilbit and other oil products from Alberta and Saskatchewan to a St. John, New Brunswick terminal for export.

Energy East was to have been a 4,500-kilometer pipeline transporting approximately 1.1 million barrels of dilbit and crude oil each day from the oil sands to the St John marine terminal. In addition to 1,500 kilometers of new construction from Ontario to New Brunswick, the pipeline project would have converted 3,000 kilometers of existing natural gas pipeline to carry crude oil.

Energy East faced numerous delays over the years as public resistance grew. Environmental groups worked to bring to light multiple problems with the pipeline, including the enormous increase in greenhouse gas emissions that would result from the oilsands expansion.

After the 2016 discovery that members of the original National Energy Board panel had held a private meeting with Jean Charest, the former premier of Quebec and a TransCanada consultant, the panel was found to be in conflict of interest. The Energy East hearing process was immediately stopped and the long process of appointing a new panel set in motion.

According to the National Observer, the NEB initially denied knowing that Charest worked for TransCanada but later "apologized for making false and misleading statements" and admitted that panel members specifically invited Charest to discuss the plans for Energy East.

The new panel reconsidered many aspects of the pipeline project and came up with a revised list of issues to be addressed. In the previous list, many concerns were completely excluded from the discussion. The enormous increase in greenhouse gas emissions was ignored, the risk to municipal water supplies overlooked, and there was no recognition of the dangers inherent in placing dilbit lines next to explosive natural gas lines.

TransCanada killed the Energy East pipeline but are still hoping to build the Keystone XL.
Nebraska farmer Daniel Graves is worried about the Keystone XL, another TransCanada pipeline. [Image by Andrew Burton/Getty Images]

When the National Energy Board published the revised issues list, TransCanada asked for a 30-day suspension to reconsider their position. The suspension was due to expire on October 8.

[Featured Image by Ian Willms/Getty Images]