FREDERICTON (GNB) – Premier David Alward welcomed today's announcement of TransCanada Corp.’s commitment to proceed with next steps to build and operate the west-east pipeline after a successful open season process.

Alward said the jobs and economic benefits generated by the pipeline project will benefit families and communities throughout New Brunswick and Canada.

"This is a game-changer and a historic moment for our province as well as our friends and partners from coast to coast to coast," said Alward. "Together, we are seizing an unprecedented opportunity to create jobs for our workers, build a stronger economic foundation for communities, and fund the education, health care and social programs that families deserve."

Teamwork and a unified vision by Alberta Premier Alison Redford, the provinces and the federal government brought the project to this critical milestone, said the premier. Alward, Redford and Energy and Mines Minister Craig Leonard have been meeting with government leaders and industry partners for more than a year.

"What we learned today is that TransCanada Corp. and the oil producers in Alberta want to work with our province to bring the west-east pipeline to New Brunswick,” said Alward. “This was truly a team effort by everyone. As New Brunswickers, we are all working for the day that our sons and daughters can go to work in the morning and be home for dinner that night, not three or four weeks later."

As the home of Canada's largest, most modern refinery and the deepest seaport on the east coast of North America, New Brunswick has the capacity to help connect Alberta's energy industry to markets throughout the world.

Alward also emphasized the importance of environmental sustainability if this project goes ahead.

"We are fortunate in Canada to benefit from the highest environmental standards – and our federal and provincial governments are committed to ensuring these standards will be followed,” he said. “Our First Nations leaders will be with us every step of the way as we work to maximize the benefits and opportunities for our First Nations communities, while ensuring the highest environmental and safety standards are followed. This project can and will be done safely or not at all."

The next step will see TransCanada Corp. proceed with the environmental and regulatory approvals for the intended development of the facilities required for the pipeline.

"There is still much work to do, and we will be counting on every New Brunswicker, every city and every town – provincewide – to work together and drive the benefits of this historic opportunity," said Alward. "Every New Brunswicker and every Canadian has a role in this story."