Green groups step up opposition to eastward Canada pipeline

Thu Feb 6, 2014 6:05pm EST
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By Julie Gordon

VANCOUVER Feb 6 (Reuters) - Environmental groups are stepping up efforts to convince Canadian authorities to reject a major new pipeline to the east coast, with one think tank saying on Thursday that filling the new line would generate up to 45 percent more carbon emissions than the controversial Keystone XL.

The estimate by the Pembina Institute, which has opposed oil sands development, is the latest salvo in the battle by some groups to block plans to build new pipelines from Canada's oil patch. Greenpeace, the Council of Canadians and other groups have previously spoken out against Energy East.

While most efforts have thus far focused on TransCanada Corp's Keystone XL line, Pembina's report may spur more debate over the impact of the company's other big project, Energy East, which would be Canada's biggest at 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd), larger than Keystone.

Producing the crude oil that would flow through Energy East would generate 30 million to 32 millions tonnes of additional carbon emissions each year, on par with adding some 7 million cars to Canada's roads, Pembina said in the report.

That would be up to 45 percent more than the 22 million tonnes of increased greenhouse-gas emissions for filling Keystone XL, the group said, citing an earlier study.

TransCanada spokesman Davis Sheremata said in an email that the company is reviewing the Pembina report, but does not believe the Energy East pipeline will "substantially affect the development of Canada's oil sands or global greenhouse gas emissions."

He said that if the proposed 4,500 km (2,800 mile) pipeline is not built, oil will still be produced and transported by truck, rail and tanker.

Energy East was announced last year and would pump crude from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries in Eastern Canada and a deepwater export port at Saint John, New Brunswick.   Continued...