Public debate surrounding TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline project
began immediately after its initial introduction in August 2013 and controversy
has surrounded the proposed project ever since. Although the interprovincial
pipeline that aims to bring western crude from Alberta and Saskatchewan to
refineries and port terminals in Eastern Canada is governed exclusively by the
National Energy Board, provinces along its route have taken an active role in the
public policy debate regarding its approval. This paper will discuss such
provincial participation, with a specific focus on the province of Quebec’s
opposition to the project thus far.
Although Quebec has no formal role in the National Energy Board’s
regulatory approval process, the province is aware that it holds significant
political weight and that TransCanada must obtain some level of social
acceptance before getting the green light to move ahead with the project.
Quebec is not the only province in which opposition to the project exists or
stakeholder concerns have been raised. However, it is clear that the Quebec
government’s opposition to the project is currently TransCanada’s biggest roadblock. Not only has Quebec’s provincial government been outspoken in expressing its concerns about the project, but many Quebec-based
environmental and citizen groups across the province have also demonstrated
their opposition to the project.
It is too early to know the fate of the Energy East pipeline project.
However, there is already much to discuss regarding the challenges Energy East
faces in Quebec and how these may impact the regulatory approval process.