The Northern Gateway pipeline ($7.9 billion), the Pacific Northwest LNG project ($36 billion), and now likely the Energy East pipeline ($15.7 billion) are three privately funded infrastructure projects that would have materially strengthened the economy for decades — and all were scuttled under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s watch in the past year.
It’s sad to say, but the last time there was so much heavy handed, poorly thought out federal interference into the energy sector was during the failed National Energy Program in the early 1980s, when Trudeau’s father Pierre was in charge. The first two projects are gone for good, after frustrated proponents moved on to less-intrusive jurisdictions.
The Energy East project remains in play after proponent TransCanada Corp. said Thursday it would suspend its application for 30 days, however the company suggested it may not build it at all. It’s a reaction to the National Energy Board’s unprecedented decision to widen its study of the project to include the upstream and downstream greenhouse gas impacts of the whole oil industry.
“I believe this was the last straw that broke the camel’s back,” given the many changes already imposed on the project and the $1 billion spent to date, said retired TransCanada executive Dennis McConaghy.
On Friday, the NEB said it has suspended its review of the Energy East and Eastern Mainline projects for 30 days, following the company’s request. During this period, the regulator will not issue further decisions or take further process steps relating to the review of the projects, it said in a statement.