The National Energy Board confirmed late on Friday that it was suspending its review of the Energy East and Eastern Mainline projects for 30 days in response to the request from the proponent, Calgary-based TransCanada. "We think the federal government should make the energy sector, the long term viability and sustainability of the sector, and oil and gas workers a priority".
"This pipeline would allow us as a country to reduce our dependency on foreign oil", Gallant said.
We need to have much more reasoned dialogue about the future of the energy sector in our country, and all that it contributes. Or perhaps this is just about oil and gas. This is yet another example of how government can literally put oil and gas companies out of business. Oil will continue to be necessary to our survival and way of life for decades, even as the world transitions to cleaner fuels.
Assessing indirect emissions "is a really tough ask", he added.
The Energy East pipeline faces an uncertain future after TransCanada said it wants to temporarily suspend its application to build the $15.7-billion project.
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Kiley said upstream emissions include activities before the oil would reach the pipeline, such as emissions created in producing oil, whereas downstream emissions refer to activities once the oil has left the pipeline like the refining and combustion of the oil.
With the 30-day time out, TransCanada may be sending a signal to the federal government to get the NEB to reconsider, and/or to its shippers "that we are closing this thing down and KXL is the last thing out of town", he said.
The ball is now in Ottawa's court to figure out whether the benefits of choking oil and gas development by limiting pipeline construction to meet the Paris agreement greenhouse gas reduction commitments are worth the costs, including continuing harm to the oil and gas sector from Alberta to New Brunswick and to Canada's reputation as an investment destination.
Canada West Foundation CEO Martha Hall Findlay, a former Liberal MP, said everyone wants to cut greenhouse emissions, but the government is not going to prove it can cut emissions and still build pipelines by "moving the goal posts in the middle of a major investment decision". "Prime Minister Justin Trudeau directly cited this climate plan in his approval of two new pipelines last fall".
She added that the track record for resurrecting projects that are placed on hold is not promising.
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TransCanada cited concerns with the NEB's changes to the issues and environmental assessment factors and the impact of those changes on project costs.
The company thus intends to give time - 30 days in fact - to undertake an exhaustive review of the recent changes that have been imposed by the NEB with respect to the matters to be studied within the framework of the process of evaluation of the two pipeline projects.
But a dour-sounding Gallant said the possible cancellation of the project would be a big blow to a province that hoped to see the creation of thousands of jobs linked to the pipeline.
Saint John Mayor Don Darling said he was "very concerned" about the uncertainty surrounding the proposed pipeline.
"Throughout the past year, investors have frozen or abandoned Canadian projects and taken all potential jobs with them", she said.
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But the company indicated on Thursday that it was hitting the brakes on Energy East due to the new guidelines proposed by the NEB.