National Observer | Christian Foisy was puzzled when he saw that a new 38,885 page cross-Canada oil pipeline application, submitted this week, had a placeholder” document describing a rather sensitive location close to his own home, just west of Montreal.
The “placeholder” means that Alberta-based TransCanada Corp still hasn’t figured out how to safely run this new proposed pipeline, Energy East, through a section of the Ottawa River, near Montreal. The company says it also needs to do more seismic testing – using air cannons – to determine the best way to build a concrete tunnel for the pipeline about 100 metres below the floor of the Saint Lawrence River, west of Quebec City.
This leaves Foisy feeling nervous about the pipeline. If completed, Energy East would carry up to 1.1 million barrels of oil from Alberta and Saskatchewan toward refineries and an export terminal in Quebec and New Brunswick. Energy East’s 4,600 kilometre route passes through or near several major Canadian waterways. Most parts of the project would require the conversion of an existing TransCanada natural gas pipeline. But more than 1,000 kilometres of the route requires installation of a brand new pipeline.
While the oil industry, investment bankers and federal government officials have said that Canadian companies can safely build new pipeline infrastructure to fuel economic growth and provide revenues to support a transition to cleaner economy, environmentalists and other critics say that the missing pieces of TransCanada’s application should raise alarms about the risks of betting on pipelines.
“We are talking here about the feasibility of the pipeline at two critical locations (near Montreal and Quebec City),” Foisy said in an interview with National Observer. “It’s inconceivable that (federal government officials) can consider this (application) complete without the technical information for these crossings.”
TransCanada has known for about two years that its initial plan to install Energy East through the Ottawa River was flawed, based on an environmental report prepared by a consulting firm, Foisy said.
This was submitted in 2014 as part of the company’s original application for the project, but the NEB has deleted this report from its website along with other “outdated” documents in response to a request from the company that was sent on May 6, 2016.
TransCanada spokesman Tim Duboyce said it was “absolutely normal” for the company’s application to have a bunch of moving parts that change over time. In fact, Foisy confirmed that similar issues about missing information arose during the National Energy Board’s review of Enbridge Inc.’s proposed Line 9 reversal project — another pipeline project that allowed for an increase in oil exported from western Canada to the east.
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By Mike De Souza in the National Observer | May 20th 2016, as posted at http://www.nationalobserver.com/2016/05/20/news/transcanada-doesn%E2%80%99t-know-how-send-tons-oil-under-these-major-canadian-rivers