Quebec to do own review of Enbridge pipeline project

Thu May 23, 2013 3:18pm EDT
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By Valerie Volcovici

WASHINGTON May 23 (Reuters) - Quebec will announce within weeks that it will launch its own public review of a proposed pipeline that would deliver crude oil from western Canada to eastern markets, its environment minister said Thursday.

Yves-Francois Blanchet told Reuters in an interview that the review would be done simultaneously to a review by Canada's National Energy Board, in order to give local groups a chance to learn more about the project.

Energy company Enbridge Inc. proposed reversing a section of the existing Line 9 pipeline that connects Ontario and Quebec in order to deliver oil from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba to eastern markets.

A revamped Line 9 would transport up to 300,000 barrels per day (bpd), and transport western Canadian crude eastward rather than transporting more expensive Brent crude oil from the North Sea, West Africa and the Middle East in a westbound direction.

But Blanchet said Quebec, which is led by a pro-separatist government, needs to have its say over a project being pushed by Alberta and Ottawa.

"It's not whether or not we want oil from the oil sands. That is not our mandate. As a minister of a government that promotes sovereignty, I do not intend to comment on internal Canadian affairs or energy policy," he said.

Blanchet said Quebec's own review process would allow local stakeholders to make recommendations about how to make the pipeline safe, or if that is even possible.

Quebec will invite experts, environmental and citizen groups, economic associations, oil companies and municipalities to participate.   Continued...