TransCanada Drops Quebec Oil Port

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CBJ – TransCanada Corp. has dropped plans for a Quebec oil-export terminal because of danger to beluga whales in the St. Lawrence River. The retraction is viewed as a big victory for environmentalists and a move that delays the company’s $12 billion Energy East pipeline project.

The company now plans to complete the 1.1 million barrel per day Energy East pipeline in 2020, two years behind schedule, as it rejigs regulatory filings.

TransCanada halted work on the Cacouna export terminal on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, near Riviere du Loup, Quebec, in December after experts said it would harm beluga whales in the river, which they said should be federally protected as an endangered species.

The company said it is now “evaluating other options” for the terminal.

“This decision is the result of the recommended change in status of the Beluga whales to endangered and ongoing discussions we have had with communities and key stakeholders,” TransCanada chief executive Russ Girling said in a statement.

Cacouna was one of two export terminals planned for the 4,600-kilometre line, with the second to be built at the pipeline’s terminus in Saint John, N.B.

The planned pipeline, which would take crude from the Alberta oil sands to Eastern Canada and abroad, has yet to face the kind of sustained opposition that has arisen in the United States towards TransCanada’s Keystone XL project. Environmentalists, however, said the decision was a victory that could firm up resistance to the entire project.


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