Québec, March 1, 2016 – The Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, David Heurtel, announces that the government has taken action to ensure compliance with Québec law. To that end, Québec Attorney General Stéphanie Vallée today filed a motion for an injunction against TransCanada Pipelines Limited and Energy East Pipeline Limited, to ensure that the environmental assessment of the Québec portion of their Energy East Pipeline Project complies with Québec environmental impact assessment and review procedures as set out in the Environment Quality Act (EQA).
In his letters dated November 18 and December 2, 2014, Minister Heurtel reminded TransCanada that the Québec portion of its project was subject to Québec environmental impact assessment and review procedures, and that it was in the company’s interest to respect the will of Quebecers in this matter. At the time, the Minister stipulated that TransCanada was to forthwith submit the environmental impact study of the Québec portion of its project to the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC). The Minister also notified the company that the government’s analysis of the project would be guided by seven conditions. No response to these letters has as yet been received.
Despite the fact that TransCanada submitted its project application last December to the National Energy Board (NEB), which is the body mandated to study the project for the federal government, the company has yet to submit the documents required by the EQA for the Québec portion of its project.
“Today’s motion is very simple and very clear: It signifies that whoever seeks to build a project in Québec must comply with all Québec laws and regulations. I clearly informed TransCanada Pipelines that it needed to table a project notice for Energy East. In the face of its inaction, the government has taken action. This is not only a matter of respect, but equally a question of fairness towards all companies that wish to do business in Québec,” stated Minister Heurtel.
The Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) will be pursuing the mandate it received from the Minister on June 8, 2015 to lead an inquiry and hold a public hearing on the Québec portion of the Energy East project per Section 6.3 of the EQA. The BAPE report will assist the government’s reflective process in developing the position it will defend at the NEB hearings. The federal body is to announce its decision in July 2018.
“I mandated the BAPE to hold this inquiry because it is essential that individual Quebecers, municipalities and other parties interested in this question are able to voice their views and be heard right now. Despite the fact that the BAPE does not have complete project information in hand, it needs to develop the most advanced analysis possible to enable us to defend Québec’s interests before the NEB, as there is no question of the Government of Québec adopting an empty chair policy in this matter,” explained Minister David Heurtel.
The letters from Minister Heurtel to TransCanada Pipelines are available on the MDDELCC website. Full information about Minister Heurtel’s mandate to the BAPE is available on the BAPE website. Information about the NEB hearings is available at the following address: http://www.one-neb.gc.ca/pplctnflng/mjrpp/nrgyst/index-eng.html.
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