OTTAWA — Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr says the federal cabinet was never going to include downstream emissions as a factor when it reviewed the application for the now defunct Energy East pipeline.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Carr says that while the National Energy Board review panel had decided to study the emissions expected from producing the oil and refining and burning it, that wasn't what he had requested.

In the interim review process he announced almost two years ago, he says the government only asked the NEB to look at upstream emissions — those produced from extracting the oil to ship in the pipeline.

Carr says that was part of the process when the government approved both the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain project and the Enbridge Line 3 rebuild and was all that would have been considered if Energy East ever made to the cabinet table for approval.

Carr is playing offence following the decision last week for TransCanada (TRP.TO) to kill its Energy East application, hoping to convince Canadians it was market forces like lower oil prices and the U.S. approval of Trans Canada's Keystone XL project that are to blame, rather than government policy.

Failing to do so could spell electoral trouble for the Liberals, particularly in New Brunswick, where the pipeline would have created thousands of jobs and an estimated $1.2 billion in economic growth.