FREDERICTON (GNB) – The following statement was issued by Premier Brian Gallant regarding the decision by TransCanada to not proceed with the Energy East pipeline:

TransCanada deciding not to proceed with its application is not good news for those who wanted to see the Energy East pipeline built – and your provincial government falls firmly in that camp. Like many New Brunswickers, we are disappointed. The project would have created jobs in New Brunswick and helped the Canadian economy.

That is why over the last few years we have expressed our support for the project. It is also why I have personally spoken with almost every member of the federal cabinet about the merits of the project, for both New Brunswick and Canada. I continued to push for the project while in Ottawa this week speaking about the importance of the project with several federal cabinet ministers as well as with my colleagues and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the first ministers’ meeting.

Additionally, after hearing about TransCanada suspending its application for the Energy East pipeline, I sent a letter to the prime minister to ensure that, should the project proceed, it would face a fair, even-handed and reasonable hearing at federal cabinet when it comes time to make a decision on approval.

The federal government then promptly responded through the media and with a written response that made it clear that the process the federal government would follow to assess the project would be “exactly the same” as what was considered in approving the Line 3 replacement project and the Trans Mountain expansion. Plus, to avoid added cost restraints for TransCanada, the federal government agreed to pay additional costs caused by the analysis of the upstream and downstream greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that would be associated with the Energy East pipeline.

Given the positive signals the federal government has sent to TransCanada over the last weeks – by providing certainty on the process and offering to pay for the additional costs of the GHG analysis – we believe it is clear that TransCanada is not proceeding with its application for the Energy East pipeline because recent changes to world market conditions and the price of oil have negatively impacted the viability of the project.

We believed if TransCanada continued with the process, the project would be approved. We still believe that.

I want to yet again assure New Brunswickers that the economic benefits of the Energy East pipeline have never been added to our economic and fiscal projections. Without the Energy East pipeline project, we still had the strongest economic growth in New Brunswick in a decade. Without the project, we are still on track to balance the provincial budget by 2020. Without the project, we have still invested record amounts in education and health care. But there is no doubt that with the Energy East pipeline project we would have been able to do even more to grow the economy, strengthen education and improve health care in our province.

However, it is important to say today that, while we wanted to see the pipeline built, it is not the only opportunity our government has been pursuing to grow our economy. It is also not the only opportunity the government is pursuing for the Saint John region. As the industrial base of our economy, we need Saint John to be firing on all cylinders, and our government is committed to making sure that continues to happen.

There will be a new deal for Saint John. And regardless of what happens with this project, energy is still a huge opportunity for both Saint John and New Brunswick. We are developing a smart grid that will help the province and jurisdictions around the world to be able to have more renewable energy and we are working to harness the opportunities for tidal energy in our province.

We are going to continue to look for other export markets for energy, which would allow us to increase our generation, and we are going to keep an eye on world market conditions. We firmly believe that if there is going to be an export facility for oil or liquefied natural gas (LNG) on the east coast of our country that is going to be developed over the next few years, New Brunswick is the place to make it happen.

We will continue to work to identify and pursue new growth opportunities and keep moving New Brunswick forward.