Welcome to the 20th Anniversary edition of the Pipeline Blues.
The Pipeline Blues is a unique and ground-breaking archive of materials concerning the TransQuebec & Maritime PNGTS Extension pipeline project in Quebec, Canada.
It's the story of several dozen landowners in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, who banded together to challenge the status quo of the pipeline industry and precipitate the first ever Canadian National Energy Board Detailed Route Hearing for a pipeline.
The Portland Natural Gas Transmission System (PNGTS) Extension is a natural gas pipeline that connects the PNGTS in New Hampshire with the TransCanada Pipeline (TCPL) system near Montreal, Quebec.
A Quebec company, TransQuebec & Maritime or TQM, made the project application and were supported in it's construction by a network of inter-locking gas companies, including TCPL. Throughout the project, promoters used unethical tactics liberally to achieve their ends.
The project was especially controversial in the touristic region of the Eastern Townships (L'Estrie). The Quebec environmental hearings (BAPE) were tumultuous and generated ill will between project promoters and affected landowners. An enthusiastic provincial government approved the project quickly in spite of BAPE reservations.
The Canadian National Energy Board (NEB) also held a series of public hearings on the project. Again, the hearings were heated, and decidedly not what the NEB is accustomed to, as landowners rarely make it that far in the process. NEB hearings are usually more about company lawyers fighting it out over the spoils.
A decidedly partial NEB panel approved the project over the objections of landowners and environmentalists, and that's where the story was expected to end. But a small group of landowners coalesced, organized, and demanded their right to a secondary route hearing, the first ever for a natural gas pipeline.
In the end it was NEB/TQM 40, and landowners 0.
Shortly after the pipeline was completed and went into operation, TQM's compressor station in East Hereford, Quebec blew up. TQM was left in disarray and TCPL effectively took over the pipeline's operation.
The whole story, in the words of the people who lived it, is right here.
January 2018 (Updated January 2019)