CARLETON-SUR-MER, Que. – Quebec Premier Pauline Marois has defended a pipeline project that would see Western Canadian oil pumped across her province.
Marois says the controversial Enbridge Inc. proposal to reverse the flow of one of its pipelines could be a boon for Quebec — particularly since it would supply oil refineries in Montreal.
Speaking to reporters today, she said the Alberta crude would be cheaper than oil purchased from abroad.
Marois says her government will begin a formal examination next month of Enbridge’s Line 9 proposal, to determine whether the project is in the interest of Quebecers or too big of a risk.
The Parti Quebecois premier says while the project faces opposition from Quebec environmentalists, she insists it has not divided her caucus.
But she acknowledges, however, that the controversial project has generated some debate within her party.
Enbridge wants to expand capacity on some pipes in the Great Lakes region and reverse the flow Line 9, which runs between Montreal and southern Ontario.
The National Energy Board, meanwhile, is studying the project as it works its way through the federal regulatory process.
In the past, Marois has shown an openness to the idea of permitting oilsands bitumen to travel across her province.
After meeting with Canadian premiers in November, Marois agreed to create working groups to weigh the economic benefits and environmental risks of piping Alberta crude through Quebec.