Edelman, TransCanada to split after Greenpeace strategy document leak

TransCanada and Edelman both released statements Wednesday saying they will part company after Greenpeace leaked five documents last week outlining the energy company's communications strategy.

An Energy East open house answering the public's questions about the pipeline project. Photo from TransCanada's Energy East blog

CALGARY, ALBERTA: Energy company TransCanada has ended its relationship with Edelman a week after Greenpeace leaked communications strategy documents for its Energy East pipeline project.

TransCanada posted a statement to its website on Wednesday, saying that "recent controversy around our communications strategy has created distraction most notably in Quebec."

"The conversation about Energy East has turned into a debate about our choice of agency partner," the statement continued. "We need to get back to a conversation about the project itself, and as a result we have agreed that it is in the best interests of the project that we do not extend our contract with Edelman."

The company added that "we need to discuss the project on its merits, responding to valid concerns such as how we will protect water and marine life, instead of talking about communications tactics."

Edelman issued its own statement Wednesday afternoon, noting that the firm and TransCanada "mutually agreed not to extend" the contract, which will wrap at the end of this year.

In the five documents leaked by Greenpeace last week, Edelman laid out the use of a three-track approach spanning positive messaging, rapid response to attacks, and "work with third parties to pressure Energy East opponents."

The documents outlined a strategy created to "add layers of difficulty for our opponents, distracting them from their mission and causing them to redirect their resources."

"We stand by our strategy," the Edelman statement said. "It was both ethical and moral, and any suggestion to the contrary is untrue."

Edelman representatives declined to comment beyond the statement.

TransCanada stated that it plans to start "a fresh conversation with all stakeholders."

The objective behind the $12 billion Energy East project is to modify existing natural gas pipelines to carry crude oil from Alberta to shipping terminals in eastern Canada. If developed, the pipeline is expected to transport 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day. However, it has met opposition from environmental groups and other organizations.

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