The government announced on Wednesday they are implementing a new interim review process for pipeline proposals such as the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain and the TransCanada Energy East pipeline. The new process is intended to restore the confidence of Canadians in the regulatory regime for major energy projects.
5 principles of the new interim environmental assessment process:
- No project proponent will be asked to return to the starting line — project reviews will continue within the current legislative framework and in accordance with treaty provisions, under the auspices of relevant responsible authorities and Northern regulatory boards;
- Decisions will be based on science, traditional knowledge of Indigenous peoples and other relevant evidence;
- The views of the public and affected communities will be sought and considered;
- Indigenous peoples will be meaningfully consulted, and where appropriate, impacts on their rights and interests will be accommodated; and
- Direct and upstream greenhouse gas emissions linked to the projects under review will be assessed. (Source: Natural Resources Canada)
Moving forward, the environment ministry will analyze greenhouse gas emissions that would result from approving pipeline projects. The results from that study would then be presented to cabinet, which will make the final decision on whether to approve a project.
The process will also include greater public, and indigenous consultations on projects, something that is not currently part of the National Energy Board regulatory regime.
The new process will be separate from the existing NEB, and take place after the regulator has completed its review of proposed projects.
The Liberals promised during the last election campaign that it would “modernize” the NEB to restore confidence among Canadians in its review process. The interim process will only apply to projects currently in the “pipeline”, as the review of the NEB will not be completed for several months.