We reported yesterday that the federal Government of Canada has introduced five principles that will guide its decision-making on major natural resource projects, while it undertakes a review of environmental assessment processes.
Building on those principles, the government has announced interim measures for two major pipeline projects currently under review by the National Energy Board (NEB): Energy East Pipeline and Trans Mountain Expansion Project.
The announcement was welcomed in by Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Bob Chiarelli. It remains to be seen whether these changes will assuage a growing dissatisfaction with the NEB hearing process among Aboriginal and other intervenors.
These are the interim measures announced by the Government
Interim Measures for Pipeline Projects
Energy East Pipeline
The Government of Canada will:
- Undertake deeper consultations with Indigenous peoples potentially affected by the project and provide funding to support these consultations;
- Help facilitate expanded public input into the National Energy Board review process, including public and community engagement activities. The Minister of Natural Resources intends to recommend the appointment of three temporary members to the National Energy Board; and,
- Assess the upstream greenhouse gas emissions associated with this project and make this information public.
To allow sufficient time for these measures, the Minister of Natural Resources intends to seek an extension to the legislated review time limit by six months (to 21 months in total) and seek an extension to the legislated time limit for the Government’s decision by three months (to six months in total), for an anticipated total of 27 months.
Trans Mountain Expansion Project
The Government of Canada will:
- Undertake deeper consultations with Indigenous peoples and provide funding to support participation in these consultations;
- Assess the upstream greenhouse gas emissions associated with this project and make this information public; and,
- Appoint a Ministerial Representative to engage communities, including Indigenous communities potentially affected by the project, to seek their views and report back to the Minister of Natural Resources.
To allow sufficient time for these measures, the Minister of Natural Resources intends to seek an extension to the legislated time limit for the Government’s decision by four months (to seven months in total), extending the date from August 2016 to December 2016.
The Minister of Natural Resources will look at all other projects undergoing an NEB review to determine whether additional measures are needed to meet the principles.
Manning Environmental Law is a Canadian law firm based in Toronto, Ontario. Our practice is focussed on environmental law, energy law and aboriginal law.
Paul Manning is a certified specialist in environmental law. He has been named as one of Canada’s leading Environmental Lawyers by Who’s Who Legal: Canada and ranked by Lexpert as one of Canada’s Leading Energy Lawyers.
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