Segments of the Trans Mountain pipeline have already been twinned

Feds won’t halt pipeline twinning review

Ottawa to await NEB recommendation on Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain project

The federal Liberals are revealing little of how they intend to revamp the system to review new oil pipelines, a promise made during last year’s election.

Natural Resources Canada indicated it won’t short-circuit the National Energy Board review of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline twinning, which enters oral hearings next week and will be allowed to proceed to deliver a recommendation by a May 20 deadline.

“The National Energy Board is conducting a thorough, science-based review of the proposed project,” department spokesperson Micheline Joanisse told Black Press by email. “The Government of Canada will await the recommendation from the Board before making a decision, or making any further comments on the project.”

The federal response came after the B.C. government told the NEB that Kinder Morgan has not met the five conditions set out by the province.

Opponents of the $6.8-billion pipeline project had hoped the province’s stance would trigger more decisive federal action.

RELATED: B.C. remains opposed to Trans Mountain expansion

Prior to forming government, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had vowed to modernize the NEB to restore public trust to the process and Joanisse reiterated that pledge to introduce “credible and robust”  enivronmental and regulatory reviews.

“Our plan will include a transition period for projects currently under review to provide some certainty through the modernization process,” she said. “No project proponent will be asked to return to square one.”

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan said the federal Liberals suddenly seem to be taking a different tone on the project’s review now that they’re in power.

“When now-Prime Minister Trudeau was running he said this process wasn’t science-based, that it was in fact ignoring important environmental issues, that it wasn’t considering climate change,” Corrigan said.

“I don’t see how this government can be in Paris claiming to be part of an avant garde movement to try to deal with climate change worldwide and at the same time say that the National Energy Board, which is full of hacks from the oil industry, is doing a science-based review.”

Corrigan said the NEB process is fundamentally flawed and can’t be fixed with minor tweaks or some sort of secondary panel review to plug gaps in the first one.

The new government has inherited an NEB that includes several board members appointed or reappointed by the Conservatives in the dying days of their mandate.

Among them is Steven Kelly, a consultant who previously worked for Kinder Morgan preparing the economic case for Trans Mountain. He isn’t sitting on that review but his appointment in July, effective Oct. 13, led to a delay in the review while his evidence was replaced.

A new report from the NEB on a public engagement tour it conducted last year contains various pledges from the federal regulator to improve public trust in its work.

They include full public consultation on company emergency response plans – a contentious point in the Kinder Morgan review – and improved disclosure of information to the public, through an online pipeline incident map and NEB inspection reports. A regional office has also been opened in Vancouver.

It acknowledges environmental protection is is the public’s top priority, as well as pressure from local governments for more comprehensive and integrated emergency response preparations.

The NEB is having to rapidly adapt to a new era of intense public scrutiny, the report says, calling it a “perfect storm” of public expectations and opinions.

Just Posted

Team BC takes on hosts at junior curling nationals tonight

Tyler Tardi and his team have played and won two games in the Canadian championships, so far.

UPDATE: Olympic softball qualifier to be held in Surrey

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

Surrey resident to speak about erasing Alzheimer’s disease stigma

A goal of Dona McMorland is to erase stigma attached to the disease

Vehicle rollover in Surrey

Surrey Fire Service responded to the collision on the 19500-block of 60 Avenue

VIDEO: Three-peat for Semiahmoo at basketball’s Surrey RCMP Classic

South Surrey-based squad tops Lord Tweedsmuir in final at Enver Creek gym

Keep focus on helping Canadians at home, Trudeau tells MPs at start of meeting

Trudeau said the Liberals will offer Canadians hope amid issue like climate change and global tensions

Pettersson returns to lead Canucks to 3-2 win over Red Wings

Vancouver’s super rookie has 2 points in first game back after knee injury

Crash closes Coquihalla southbound lane south of Merritt

Accident occurred approximately 26 kilometres south of Merritt

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

12 poisoned eagles found on Vancouver Island

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

B.C. resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

B.C. VIEWS: Fact-checking the NDP’s speculation tax on empty homes

Negative-option billing is still legal for governments

Most Read