The twinning of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Pipeline will be subject to revised federal rules.

Feds add pipeline consultations, delay Kinder Morgan decision

Extra level of review ordered by Ottawa adds weight to aboriginal, climate concerns in deciding Trans Mountain fate

The federal government is ordering extra consultations with first nations and other communities separate from the work of the National Energy Board as part of its prescription to rebuild public confidence in the pipeline approval process.

It doesn’t halt the NEB hearings underway on Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain oil pipeline twinning, not does it delay the NEB’s deadline to deliver a recommendation to cabinet by May.

But the federal government has given itself a four-month extension of its legislated deadline to make a final decision on Trans Mountain – that must now happen by December instead of August.

The government had previously said it wouldn’t force proponents like Kinder Morgan to restart the approval process all over again.

A separate ministerial representative will be appointed to directly consult communities, including first nations, during the extension period and report back to Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr.

Funding will be provided for first nations to participate.

Direct and upstream greenhouse gas emissions linked to the projects will now be assessed, but not the downstream emissions when fossil fuels are burned in destination countries.

The climate change analysis for each project, to be conducted by the federal environment department, will be made public.

The changes effectively add an extra layer of review to plug what the government says were major gaps in the flawed NEB review process left by the Harper Conservatives.

“Without the confidence of Canadians, none of these projects will move forward,” Carr said.

He said final project decisions by cabinet will be based on science, traditional knowledge of indigenous people and other relevant evidence.

Carr wouldn’t say how much weight would be given factors such as climate change impacts or aboriginal concerns, but he cited past court rulings on the Crown’s duty to consult first nations as one reason for the change.

The NEB has been hearing final arguments of intervenors in the Trans Mountain review this month and aboriginal leaders have repeatedly criticized what they say has been a lack of meaningful consultation on the project.

The new rules, billed as a transition step ahead of new legislation to reform the NEB, will apply not just to new pipelines but to all federally reviewed projects.

Also affected are proposed liquefied natural gas plants under federal review, including the Pacific Northwest LNG project at Prince Rupert and the Woodfibre LNG proposal near Squamish, both in late stages of review.

Carr said the process won’t satisfy polarized critics who believe projects should be built either immediately or never, but will improve cabinet’s ability to render a decision.

“There are all kinds of Canadians who want to be satisfied that the process that led to a decision was a good one, a fair one and they had their say.”

The Wilderness Committee criticized the government’s failure to include downstream carbon emissions that make up the bulk of the climate impacts of new pipelines.

“A true climate test would leave regulators with no choice but to reject these projects,” said campaigner Peter McCartney. “Tacking on some window dressing doesn’t make these projects any less of a climate catastrophe.”

Kinder Morgan Canada president Ian Anderson said he’s concerned pipeline construction may be delayed, but agreed public confidence in the process is crucial.

Just Posted

Surrey Mountie won’t face charges for scooter scuffle

The Surrey-based IIO has decided not to forward the case to Crown counsel for review

High-risk sex offender released into Surrey

Earon Wayne Giles, a Newton “tag-team rapist,” was released from prison Friday and is now living in Surrey

Pedestrian seriously injured in Surrey traffic crash

A 54-year-old man was hit by a car early Thursday evening while crossing Highway 10 at 152nd Street

VIDEO: Nature provides practice space for North Delta musician

Terry Lee has become a fixture over the years playing his cornet in and near the Delta Nature Reserve

UPDATE: Surrey RCMP say body found after fire at Whalley homeless camp

Police say the body was found inside a shed after firefighters extinguished a blaze

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

Burnaby facility to dispose of 1,500 tonnes of Canada’s trash from Philippines

All 103 containers will be disposed of properly within Canada before the end of the summer

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

Man wants guilty plea revoked in 2012 collision in Abbotsford that killed Chilliwack woman

Michael Larocque was charged in relation to crash that killed Eileen Kleinfelder

Vancouver woman sexually assaulted after man follows her home; suspect at large

Police are looking for an Asian man in his 40s after the incident on Vancouver’s east side.

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

UPDATE: Vancouver man dies after crash between motorcycle, transport truck

Police believe speed was a factor in Thursday collision

Trial slated to start Monday for accused killer of Abbotsford cop

Oscar Arfmann faces first-degree murder for death of Const. John Davidson

RCMP probe hit-and-run of Richmond senior

The man, who is in his mid-70s, was walking with his wife when he was allegedly struck

Most Read