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TransCanada files pre-application for Energy East pipeline

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Timed a little earlier than expected, TransCanada has filed its pre-application for the Energy East pipeline.

Here is my preliminary analysis of this pre-application, highlighting some key items presented that need further examination and deserve broad public awareness.

Energy East, water

The project description second volume highlights a number of environmental and socio-economic considerations for Energy East. Of particular interest is a list of waterways Energy East traverses, section 1.11. I've included this list for easy viewing at the end of this blog.

Detailed Energy East maps -- finally (p. 22-42 )

The highlight for many reviewing these documents will likely be the maps indicating where exactly the pipeline will traverse in relation to communities.


Energy East route, First Nation and Metis (p. 75-100)

A list and maps are provided indicating where the Energy East route crosses into Indigenous territory.

Demand for Energy East (p. 12)

Here again TransCanada talks about the significant commercial demand for Western Canadian crude in Eastern Canada. Here again, I'm not convinced. They talk about the benefit of cheaper Western crude for Eastern refineries, but the fact is tar sands crude isn't cheap and when it reaches coastal waters (which it will in the Cacouna and Saint John terminals) it will begin to match world oil prices.  Here's what Globe and Mail's Jeff Rubin has to say on the matter:

"The benefits of a new pipeline, for the most part, won't extend to domestic oil consumers either. If Energy East were displacing expensive imported fuel with a cheaper homegrown alternative, that would be one thing. But that's not the case. Whether the oil carried by Energy East is consumed in Canada or shipped abroad, it's not going to lower the price of crude. Alberta's oil sands bitumen is among the most expensive sources of oil in the world." 

Ontario's access to natural gas (p. 14)

It looks like TransCanada is claiming they've found a way to continue supplying natural gas to Ontario consumers, something that had caused a row with natural gas distributors. We will need to look at this more closely to understand whether it reduces the risks of Ontario becoming more reliant on imported fracked gas from the Marcellus shale. 

Storage tank terminals (p.19)

There will be storage tank terminals built in Hardisty, Alberta, Moosomin, Saskatchewan, Cacouna, Quebec and Saint John, New Brunswick. This should be of particular interest to local residents. These tanks will store large amounts of oil and pose increased spill risks to these communities. Storage tanks like these have become a key issue for opponents of increased tar sands infrastructure in Portland.

Pumping stations

There will be 72 pumping stations along the route. The communities near these pump stations are included in the maps noted on page 22-42. Pumping stations have a higher chance of spilling. 

 NEB review timeline (p. 57)

A handy graph indicating TransCanada's proposed timeline following NEB procedures -- construction is to begin in 2016.

Emergency preparedness and response p. 59

A description of their plans, similar in content to what was provided at open houses.


Energy East and water:


-  Battle River

-  Sounding Creek

-  Red Deer River

-  South Saskatchewan River

In Saskatchewan, the Project crosses four watersheds:

-  South Saskatchewan River

-  Qu'Appelle River

-  Souris River

-  Assiniboia River

The Saskatchewan portion of the Prairie segment crosses the nine watercourses:

-  Miry Creek

-  Antelope Creek

-  Swift Current Creek

-  Thunder Creek

-  Moose Jaw River

-  Cottonwood Creek

-  Wascana Creek

-  Manybone Creek

-  Pipestone Creek

In Manitoba, the Project crosses

-  Assiniboine River west of Miniota

-  Assiniboine River south of Portage la Prairie

-  Red River south of Winnipeg

In Ontario, the Ontario West, Northern Ontario, and the North Bay Shortcut segments cross two primary watersheds (the Nelson River and Great Lakes–St. Lawrence watershed) and 41 named river crossings including:

-  Winnipeg River

-  Wabigoon River

-  Dog River

-  Black Sturgeon River

-  Kenogami River

-  Pagwachuan River

-  Nagagami River

-  Kabinakagami River

-  Opasatika River

-  Kapuskasing River

-  Mattagami River

-  Frederick House River

-  Blanche Rive

-  Montreal River

-  Madawaska River

-  Mississippi River

-  Rideau River

-  South Nation River

In Quebec, the Project will intersect a large number of watercourses and traverse over 80 distinctive watersheds and over 600 watercourses, including:

-  Rivière des Outaouais

-  Rivière des Mille Îles

-  Rivière Saint-Maurice

-  Fleuve Saint-Laurent

-  Rivière des Prairies

In New Brunswick, the Project traverses the Restigouche River basin which includes:

-  the Little Main Restigouche River sub-basin

-  the Saint John River basin includng the following sub-basins:

-  the Salmon River

-  Tobique River

-  Nashwaak River

-  Belleisle Creek

-  Jemseg River

-  Kennebecasis River

-  Washademoak Creek

-  Grand Bay

-  the Miramichi River basin including the Southwest Miramichi River sub-basin

-  the Inner Bay of Fundy Basin including the Mispec River

The Project route will cross over 300 watercourses ranging from ephemeral streams to perennial watercourses. See Table 1-11 for a list of major river crossings in New Brunswick.

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