Source: CTV News

One of the largest energy projects ever proposed in Canada remains stuck in limbo one year after the approval process broke down amid conflict-of-interest allegations.

The Energy East pipeline was supposed to see oil flowing through it this year, but that schedule has changed significantly.

One major delay was triggered a year ago, when the National Energy Board hearings fell apart in Quebec amid accusations of conflict of interest.

Canada's energy ministers are meeting this week in St. Andrews, N.B., where some of them are wondering when the process will get back on track.

"There's money going back into the energy industry around the world, but what we've seen in Canada in the last couple of years is about $100 billion that's not been invested in this industry that needs to be invested," said Saskatchewa Energy Minister Dustin Duncan.

"Energy East is an important project and we need to get this process moving."

New Brunswick Energy Minister Rick Doucet said it's vital to get the National Energy Board process back on track.

"We'd like to get the NEB process and the hearings started as quickly as possible because when they start, the clock starts ticking," he said.

'There will be explanations' for delay

The federal government is pleading for patience, noting it has appointed new members to the National Energy Board to oversee the pipeline approval process.

"I can understand why people would want this to be moving along smartly and if it isn't they would want to know why, and there will be explanations why that's so," said federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr.

"And all we can do is assure the people of New Brunswick that the National Energy Board is equipped with the resources they need to do the job and to do the job well."

Some Indigenous leaders are opposed to the pipeline, so the ongoing Energy East delay doesn't trouble them.

"This is going to go through our Wolastoq River, tributaries, brooks and lakes, over 285 times," said Wolastoq Grand Council Grand Chief Ron Tremblay, who represents a community in New Brunswick.

Jacinda Mack, of the First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining, says it's not all about jobs.

"It's more than just jobs. Short-term jobs for long-term intergenerational pollution is not something that most Indigenous people would support," she said.

To date, the NEB hasn't said when the Energy East hearings will resume. Several provinces are waiting for that to happen.

"We're encouraging the government to strike that balance between getting the process right, and not [having] undue delays," said Alberta Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd.

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