Energy East Risks Outweigh the Benefits, Ontario Regulator Concludes
TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline would bring more environmental risks than economic benefits and could drive up consumers’ natural gas prices, the Ontario Energy Board concluded in a scathing report in mid-August.
“There is an imbalance between the economic and environmental risks of the project and the expected benefits for Ontarians,” OEB Vice-President Peter Fraser said of the $12-billion project.
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After 15 months of community consultations, the OEB reported serious public concern that the project could pollute lakes, rivers, and drinking supplies, and calculated that winter natural gas prices in eastern Ontario would rise an extra 11.9% over a 20-year period.
“The top (public) concern expressed was the risk of an oil spill” involving Ontario waterways, Fraser said. “Our advice is that for the existing pipeline, when it is too close to environmentally sensitive areas, it should be rerouted unless it can be justified by TransCanada as necessary.”
The Board weighed the risks against the project’s economic benefits to Ontario, including $12 to $19 billion in GDP and “a full-time equivalent job impact of up to 114,000 positions,” CBC reports.