Environment minister David Heurtel says plans for the Quebec portion of the project must respect the province's laws
MONTREAL—The Quebec government is seeking an injunction against the Energy East pipeline project to ensure it is subject to the province’s environmental regulations.
Environment Minister David Heurtel says TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. must demonstrate that its plans for the Quebec portion of the project respect the province’s laws.
His announcement comes a few weeks after a coalition of Quebec environmental groups said it would take legal action against Energy East for the same reasons.
Heurtel said TransCanada was advised in letters in November and December 2014 that the Quebec segment of its $15.7-billion project was subject to the province’s environmental regulations.
“Unfortunately, we never received a response to these letters,” he told a news conference in Montreal on March 1.
“Today’s announcement is very simple. It means that anyone who wants to launch a project in Quebec must respect the entirety of these laws and regulations. Not only is it a question of respect but also one of fairness for all companies that do business and want to do business here.”
TransCanada has not replied to Quebec’s requests for formal notice, saying Energy East is subject only to federal regulation.
The pipeline would carry 1.1 million barrels a day of western crude as far east as Saint John, N.B., serving domestic refineries and international customers.
The project has run into stiff opposition in Quebec, with the mayors of Montreal and surrounding municipalities arguing that environmental risks outweigh the economic rewards.
Heurtel said the decision to engage in legal action does not mean the province has made a final decision on the project.
“I want to point out that this should not be interpreted as us being for or against the project,” he said. “Rather, as in other provinces, it is an attempt to have our laws and regulations respected.”