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NEB hearing sparks military concerns over Energy East

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World Pipelines,

After the National Energy Board (NEB) commenced hearings on TransCanada Corporation’s proposed Energy East pipeline in New Brunswick, the Canadian Armed Forces have voiced grave concerns about the proposed plan to ship crude oil from Alberta to Atlantic Canada.

As hearings get underway, documents obtained by the CBC News’ French-language service, Radio-Canada, suggest that officials at the Canadian Army’s Garrison Petawawa base have been demanding answers from TransCanada about a section of pipeline that passes through the base.

The pipeline that is already in place is currently designed to transport liquid natural gas. However, if Energy East goes ahead, this would carry crude oil instead.

In a series of emails dating back to 2014, Garrison Petawawa’s Hazardous Materials Officer, Donald Megrath, shared his concerns about a possible breach of the pipeline on the nearby Petawawa River. These concerns have been reinforced by last month’s oil spill from a Husky Energy pipeline into the North Saskatchewan River.

"A crude oil spill … is a significant environmental event," he writes in one note. "What is their emergency response plan to cover, control and respond to this?" he questioned.

In addition, according to CBC News, an email from January 2015 raised concerns about the possibility of "an epic, life, environmental and social altering spill."

The documents share some of the correspondence between the military and TransCanada. In April 2014, TransCanada wrote a letter to answer a series of specific questions posed by officials regarding the emergency planning measures that had been carried out in response to a spill along the pipeline, especially near water sources.

Sources have claimed that in the letter, TransCanada assured the military that in the event of a breach, the pipeline can be shut down “within minutes.” It has also clarified that the pipeline would pass within 600 m of CFB North Bay and 200 m from CFB Suffield in Alberta – the largest military base in Canada.

Edited from various sources by Anna Nicklin

Sources: CBC News, Energetic City

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