Quebec has suspended its legal action against TransCanada Corporation after the company agreed to file a provincial environmental impact study for its controversial Energy East pipeline.
“Within this new context, Quebec…is reconsidering its application for a permanent injunction against TransCanada and is promising to withdraw it when the environmental impact study is approved,” said Environment Minister David Heurtel.
The company is expected to file the study by June 6.
“TransCanada had insisted for months that such a measure was unnecessary. Under Quebec’s environmental laws, a notice of application would force the company to undergo a more stringent review process, including submitting an impact study to the province,” CBC reports.
“But TransCanada is now reversing its initial position. Heurtel indicated that with the notice of application, the pipeline will receive a more detailed assessment.” The refusal to comply with the provincial process had “angered not only Quebec City, but environmental groups as well.”
TransCanada lobbyist Louis Bergeron said he was pleased the province had committed to complete its review and reach a final decision on the project by 2018. “You need to have a timetable and a minimum of certainty. How long is it going to take and when is it going to end?” he said. “That is what we were looking for, and that is what we have right now.”
With Heurtel’s announcement, Quebec suspended hearings on Energy East that had been initiated by the provincial Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE). In a statement issued Friday, the BAPE acknowledged the more than 2,000 people who took part in the hearings, including dozens who came forward with questions over the course of 14 hearings.