Quebec seeks injunction to force Energy East pipeline review

Tue Mar 1, 2016 5:14pm EST
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By Allison Lampert

MONTREAL (Reuters) - Quebec on Tuesday filed a motion for an injunction to ensure TransCanada Corp's proposed Energy East oil pipeline complies with the Canadian province's environmental laws, another potential setback for the project.

TransCanada has said the pipeline is subject to federal regulations, not those of Quebec. Energy East would carry up to 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to Canada's east coast.

The project is opposed by environmentalists concerned about the risk of spills and likelihood the pipeline would spur development of Alberta's carbon-intensive oil sands.

Quebec Environment Minister David Heurtel said the province had not taken a stance on the merits of the project, which is opposed by some aboriginal groups.

"It (the motion) signifies that anyone who seeks to build a project in Quebec must comply with all Quebec laws," he told reporters.

Heurtel said Quebec acted after TransCanada ignored two letters in 2014 requesting it submit to a provincial environmental evaluation.

TransCanada spokesman Tim Duboyce said the company was "a little bit perplexed", given that Heurtel had ordered a separate provincial environmental study of the pipeline last June. TransCanada would participate in the study, the public hearing portion of which starts next week, he said by phone.

About 700 kilometers (430 miles) of the line's 4,600-km route would run through Quebec.   Continued...

People walk past a restaurant in Vieux-Port (Old Port) in Montreal, Quebec March 31, 2009. REUTERS/Jumana El Heloueh