Expanded focus for Energy East
The National Energy Board (NEB) says the upcoming assessment for TransCanada's Energy East Pipeline will provide "more visibility" on the "potential consequences, the proposed mitigation and response measures" associated with spills and malfunctions, including "preventative programs aimed at reducing or eliminating" those risks.
The 8-page list of topics to be covered during the environmental assessment process stems from 820 comments submitted to the Hearing Panel earlier this year.
In addition, the regulator will now need to quantify "incremental indirect greenhouse gas emissions that could result if [Energy East] is constructed, including from incremental upstream gas production and processing and incremental downstream end-use."
Oil and gas producers already undertake an assessment of upstream GHG emissions before the production facility is approved. Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) also perform an assessment of upstream GHG emissions as part of the federal government's "interim measures" for restoring confidence in the Canadian regulatory process. It is unclear how the NEB's assessment of GHG emissions will be different than the ECCC report.
TransCanada says it will review the NEB's announcement to "understand the potential impacts on the project."
The NEB has yet to set a new schedule for the hearings, which are expected to last 21 months. The federal government then has 6-months to conduct its own reviews before rendering a final decision.
Energy East is a 4,500 km pipeline designed to transport 1.1 million bbl/day of crude from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries in Eastern Canada and a marine terminal in New Brunswick.