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Drilling contractors slam NEB decision to expand Energy East review

Drilling contractors slam NEB decision to expand Energy East review

The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) has condemned the National Energy Board's (NEB) decision to expand the review of the Energy East pipeline project to include upstream and downstream climate change impacts.

The NEB announced it will consider the impact of production and consumption of oil in its assessment of the Energy East pipeline project. According to the CAODC, market access is a critical component of building a strong oil and gas industry that will ensure Canadians have long-term access to affordable, reliable, and responsibly produced energy. To continue to delay important infrastructure in Canada means the world's growing demand for oil and gas will be met by producers with lower standards on safety, labour, human rights, and the environment.

The NEB is mandated to "promote safety and security, environmental protection and efficient energy infrastructure and markets in the Canadian public interest." In the assessment of a pipeline, the impacts of the production and consumption of the products that pipeline transports are clearly outside of this mandate, and have no place in the review process.

With respect to upstream and downstream greenhouse gas emissions, Environment and Climate Change Canada has already been tasked by the federal government to assess pipeline projects. Any additional review by the NEB is redundant, and will add costly delays.

Furthermore, for industry opponents to suggest the NEB consider the risk of a private investment becoming a stranded asset is disingenuous. Energy East is not being built with taxpayer dollars. Private corporations are responsible for determining the viability of, and assuming the financial risk for their investments. If built, however, Energy East will generate tax revenues for Canadians, provide good paying jobs, and contribute to Canada's long term prosperity.

CAODC President, Mark Scholz, calls on the federal government to demonstrate leadership and bring focus back to the importance of major infrastructure projects. "I think a great deal of soul searching is required by the federal government," says Scholz. "They need to look into the mirror and ask themselves if they truly want to have an oil & gas industry in this country. The constant change of NEB requirements is detrimental to an industry already plagued by regulatory uncertainty and fierce global competition."

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