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Irving Oil, Trans Canada and Submerged Crown Land

Exclusive docs show water flip by NB government, leading up to Energy East

by Miles Howe

200.3 hectares of Submerged Crown Land was passed to an Irving subsidiary in 2013, in anticipation of Trans Canada's Energy East-related needs. [Map courtesy of New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources]
200.3 hectares of Submerged Crown Land was passed to an Irving subsidiary in 2013, in anticipation of Trans Canada's Energy East-related needs. [Map courtesy of New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources]

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) -- Through an Access to Information request, the Halifax Media Co-op has acquired documents that further confirm New Brunswick governmental and industrial cooperation on TransCanada's proposed Energy East pipeline project, in the direct vicinity of the community of Red Head, New Brunswick.

The area of Red Head, south east of Saint John, will bear the brunt of the proposed Energy East industrial expansions related to refining, containing and shipping Alberta-based tar sands for export.

The documents we have acquired also confirm that New Brunswick's First Nations Indian Act chiefs have cooperated in the controversial proposed pipeline project, as far back as 2013.

Given the sheer volume of documents we have obtained, we will continue to post articles over the coming days related to this issue.


'Submerged Crown Land', Irving and the question of TransCanada's effortless test drilling at Red Head

One correspondence we have obtained, dated September 10, 2013, between former Minister of Natural Resources, Bruce Northrup and Mr. Stuart Gilby, negotiator for the Assembly of First Nations Chiefs In New Brunswick, Inc. (AFNCNB), reads as follows:

I wish to advise you that the Province is considering the disposal of a parcel of submerged Crown land, being approximately 200 hectares in the Bay of Fundy, as shown on the attached plan. The property may be required as part of the proposed Trans Canada Pipeline development.

Neither Gilby or the AFNCNB appear to have responded to the Department of Natural Resources over this letter.

Minister Northrup's plan, attached as an image to this article, shows that the 200.3 hectares alluded to is directly adjacent to two numbered parcels of water in the Bay of Fundy. These Property Index (PID) numbers denoted land, or in this case water, ownership. The PID of the circular parcel of water in Northrup's plan is registered to Irving Oil Ltd. The shore-hugging parcel in the plan is registered to a company listed as 658273 N.B. Ltd and appears to have been first granted to J.D Irving Ltd in 2003.

658273 N.B. Ltd. shares a Post Office Box address with Irving Energy Services Limited.

Ownership of the 200.3 hectare parcel refered to in Northrup's letter to the AFNCNB was transferred, on October 29, 2013, from the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources to the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, who then subsequently transferred ownership to 658273 N.B. Ltd.

Realistically, what this means is that several hundred hectares of water directly offshore from the proposed Energy East pipeline end terminal is already owned by the Irving family. It also means that the province of New Brunswick has handed over a further 200.3 hectares of water ownership in the Bay of Fundy to an Irving family subsidiary company, in anticipation of the potential needs of Trans Canada Corporation.

Readers will remember that the Energy East pipeline project remains in the proposal phase, with no date even set yet for community consultations with the National Energy Board. Even if the project is scrapped, however, the Irvings in this case walk away with another 200.3 hectares of the Bay of Fundy, provided to it by the New Brunswick government.

Further, Irving ownership of the 200.3 hectare parcel may explain the ease with which Trans Canada managed to recently perform offshore test drilling operations for its proposed Energy East-related marine terminal.

Despite community protest against the test drilling, localized at Red Head, Trans Canada appears to have performed its drilling operations on what turns out to be private Irving water, rather than Crown property. This private ownership, subsequently, may have eased the burden of consultation than if the water had remained Crown land/water. 

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Now that I think of it...

Not a central issue, but you never know where questions lead to...

Since Irving owns the submerged land where the oil shipping wharf will be, and Irving will presumably own the terminal and the wharf outright (?), why was TransCanada the one doing the test drilling for the terminal.


Good work Miles, ready for more !!

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