KITIMAT (NEWS1130) – The Northern Gateway pipeline review process has now officially been altered, thanks to the omnibus bill which outlined how all environmental reviews should be conducted.

The National Energy Board has outlined how it will comply with the new law, by limiting the kind of information it will be evaluating.

As a result, Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen says he’s lost faith in the proceedings.

“They restricted even what the panel could study. They took out environmental considerations and they restricted economic ones.  I think what they want to avoid is the panel to have the capacity to say there are problems with this project,” he contends.

Plus, Ottawa has decided the final decision on the pipeline will rest with the federal cabinet, not with the National Energy Board.

“When you’re talking about major pipeline projects, as to what safety requirements you should have and whether tankers are safe, that’s pretty technical. You wouldn’t want to leave that up to people politicking and campaigning. You’d also want to make good decisions, outside of politics,” stresses Cullen.

He says the move pulls the rug out from the 4,000 people who have signed up to testify at the hearings, which are still underway.

The federal government has also imposed a tight deadline on the review, requiring the panel to submit its report by December of 2013. Cabinet should have a decision by June of 2014.