The Energy East project involves the construction of a 930-mile segment and converting 1,800 miles of gas line for oil service. It's designed to carry 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to eastern Canadian refineries.
Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said the project would help offset the estimated 700,000 bpd imported for eastern refineries from overseas markets.
Adam Scott, a campaigner for Canadian group Environmental Defense, said, as primarily an export pipeline, it won't be of significant benefit to local communities.
"It's very frustrating to watch a company trying to convince Canadians that they should accept these massive risks based on some perceived benefit that they may receive," he said in an interview published Tuesday by the Prince Albert (Saskatchewan) Daily Herald. "When you dig into it, you find that it's an empty promise."
Environmental Defense, the Council of Canadians, Ecology Action Center and citizens' advocacy group Equiterre said in a report the three refineries along the pipeline's proposed route can only take on 672,000 barrels per day combined.
There was no comment from TransCanada on the report.