The National Energy Board will begin public hearings Monday starting in Saint John over TransCanada’s controversial Energy East Pipeline.
A total of 337 people are scheduled to speak about the $15.7 billion pipeline project that will carry 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries in Eastern Canada.
It is reported that Stephen Thomas, energy coordinator of the Energy Action Centre, will be speaking to raise concerns about the impact an oil spill would have on the Bay of Fundy. He also wants to raise awareness of the increase in greenhouse gas emissions that could result from the pipeline.
Roger Hunka, director of intergovernmental affairs at the Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council, will also speak at the hearing. He said the council is not opposed of the pipeline as long as the process is well-planned and well-communicated; however, he believes TransCanada has not done an adequate job of doing so. His main concern is the impact a possible spill could have on the environment, such as fishing and hunting grounds.
Spokesman for TransCanada Mark Cooper said the company is committed to informing the public about all aspects of the project.
"Communication, transparency, accountability, and openness with local communities is fundamental to building confidence and acceptance of our projects," said Cooper. "Open, two-way communications and information sharing with indigenous communities is essential in order to build a better Energy East."
Not all scheduled speakers are against the pipeline. Several companies and business groups are planning to speak their support and encourage the hiring of local companies to build the project.
The hearings, which will be taking place is nine other cities, are scheduled to end in Kingston, Ontario in December. The National Energy Board has until March 16, 2018 to make a recommendation on the project to the federal government.