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Senator Doug Black blames Quebec for Energy East termination

Politicians across the country and political spectrum took to social media to express their disappointment at the cancellation of the Energy East pipeline project Thursday. The proposed project had a budget of $15.7 billion and was planned to go from Hardisty, Alberta to refineries in Quebec and Saint John, N.B. It was expected to ship more than one million barrels a day.

The review process began nearly two years ago when the National Energy Board set up a committee, but it was set back when the original members resigned after a meeting with TransCanada representatives in 2016. Senator Doug Black believes that delay was a major part of what led to the project’s demis, saying the National Energy Board “fumbled the ball.”

“TransCanada has been appallingly treated in this process; they are one of Canada’s great companies. My whole agenda, and I think Alberta’s agenda, is we want prosperity for Alberta and also for Canada. That comes through the energy industry and the energy industry has to have markets other than the U.S. The safest way to do that is pipelines to the Atlantic and Pacific; this benefits everybody. Yet, here we are again:a project is scuttled and the mayor of Montreal is calling it a great victory.”

Montreal Mayor Denis Corderre said he was “elated” at the news of the cancellation. Corderre has been a strong opponent of the project, so much so that when asked what the difference was between Energy East and the approved Trans Mountain and Line 3 projects black said, “I hate to say it, but I am going to. One word and that word is Quebec.”

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“Montreal dumps millions of barrels a day of sewage into the Saint Lawrence river and they have the audacity to complain about the potential environmental risks of pipelines which is 99.9 per cent safe and a heck of a lot safer than trains that go through communities like Lac Megantic.”

Black goes on to say the only way we can provide equalization to other provinces is because of the energy industry.

“I get it, we’ve got to balance interests. We have to respect the environment; we obviously have to respect First Nations right. But where is industry in all this? We’re coming quickly to a situation where we’re going to have no interests to balance.”

Black and Premier Rachel Notley are both calling for more clarity on any future reviews of pipeline projects. Black says the differences in testing requirements can make the application process even more complex.

“TransCanada was going to have show effect upstream and downstream to the NEB. Airlines don’t have to prove that, trains don’t prove that, automobile manufacturers don’t have to prove that, Bombardier doesn’t have to that prove that, just TransCanda and Energy East has to prove that. So, I’m not paranoid but you could start to get a little paranoid around this kind of creation of hurdles that no reasonable company can take the risk to try and jump.”

Black argues many businesses are hesitant to invest because industry fears they will not be able to get projects done.

“The world is looking at Canada saying beautiful country, great principles but they can’t get it done and we have to correct that impression.”

The Senate has strongly supported the project and Black says many of his colleagues are outraged.

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