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July 16, 2014
Canada’s oil sands producers are facing a pipeline brouhaha in their own backyard that could threaten expansion plans by strangling their access to markets.
TransCanada Corp. and partner Phoenix Energy Holdings Ltd., are proposing to build the $3-billion Grand Rapids pipeline that would transport 900,000 barrels a day of blended bitumen from Fort McMurray to the Edmonton area. But the project, which is now being reviewed by provincial regulators, is under fire from landowners, environmentalists and the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) who complain it is being fast-tracked without proper environmental assessment.
As regulatory hearings continued in Edmonton this week, the ACFN said the proposed Grand Rapids pipeline is essential to provide additional supply for TransCanada’s higher-profile Keystone XL and Energy East projects, but will require more oil sands development in the area that would threaten its members ability to hunt, fish and trap, and would impair their aboriginal rights.