TransCanada Corporation says it is “standing down” on development of an oil terminal at Cacouna, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, over concerns about habitat for endangered beluga whales.
“The planned Cacouna terminal was supposed to be one of the last stops for the crude oil from the proposed Energy East pipeline before being loaded onto oil tankers and shipped overseas,” Canadian Press reports. But last month, the federal Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada declared the St. Lawrence Estuary Beluga endangered, noting that the population had fallen to 1,000 from a high of 10,000.
“Without protection of its critical habitat, this population is expected to shrink further,” the committee stated.
Hours before the TransCanada announcement, federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver “warned of serious consequences for Canada’s economy if the Energy East pipeline is blocked,” CP notes.