Energy East pipeline won’t help address needs in eastern Canada; it’s ALL about export to foreign markets

Proponents of pipeline seem to be deliberately misleading the public and the media

Edmonton – Earlier today, TransCanada Pipelines officially filed an application with the National Energy Board (NEB) to build the much-discussed Energy East pipeline from Alberta to New Brunswick. In response, Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, released the following statement:

“If, as many of its proponents are saying today, the Energy East pipeline would really create a significant number of long-term refining jobs in New Brunswick and reduce the reliance of eastern Canada on foreign oil, we would enthusiastically support the project. But, the truth is, this pipeline will do nothing of the sort. A thorough analysis of the TransCanada application shows that Energy East won’t bring Alberta oil to eastern refineries – instead it will channel that oil right past Canadian refineries on the way to foreign markets.

The closest that Energy East will get to a Canadian refinery is the Irving Refinery in New Brunswick, but even there, oil transported on the pipeline will not go to the refinery itself; instead it will be delivered to a new oil export terminal being built by the Irvings next to the refinery. Even if Irving Oil wanted to take a portion of the oil out of the pipeline before loading it on ships for export, they couldn’t because the New Brunswick refinery is a ‘cracking refinery’, as opposed to a ‘coking refinery.’ That means that it couldn’t use the diluted bitumen coming down the pipeline as feedstock without investing literally billions of dollars in upgrades. To date, no such upgrades have been announced, so it’s clear that the vast majority of bitumen coming down the pipe will be destined for foreign, not domestic markets.

We raise these points in an effort to encourage the public and media to look more closely at the claims being made by proponents of the pipeline, including the Premiers of Alberta and New Brunswick. Despite all the rhetoric and the spin, it’s clear that Energy East is not a ‘nation building’ project. Instead, it is yet another in a long line of projects aimed to perpetuating the ‘rip-it-and-ship-it’ approach that has characterized Canada’s resource sector for too long. To put it another way, Energy East will only solidify our role as “hewers of wood, drawers of water…and diggers of bitumen.” When will our leaders start championing projects that actually keep good refining jobs in Canada, instead of exporting them to countries like the United States and China?”



Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.218.4351 (cell)
or via e-mail
[email protected]


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