BURNABY (NEWS 1130) – Changes to how all energy projects are approved in Canada are giving the City of Burnaby fresh hope the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion can be halted — or at least delayed.
The new Impact Assessment Act, which includes changing the name of the National Energy Board, would see all projects approved — or denied — within two years, as well as guarantee input from First Nations.
City of Burnaby lawyer Greg McDade says the creation of the new Canadian Energy Regulator offers further proof the NEB needed fixing.
“How is it that Burnaby and Vancouver have to be the last victim of a process that the prime Mmnister admits was flawed? I’m not sure it’s a whole lot better, but I don’t see how they can justify building a pipeline without going through that process.”
He says a key argument in the ongoing legal battle has been that the current approval process needs to be updated, so that should make it harder for the courts to rule in favour of Kinder Morgan’s $7.4-billion project.
“Clearly, it’s recognition by the government that the process was flawed.”
He’s also pleased the 341-page Impact Assessment Act includes stronger consultation with all stakeholders.
“We keep hearing that the federal government runs the show and there’s no question they control the National Energy Board, but you know, our constitution’s not what it was 150 years ago when the federal government could ram things through without consent of municipalities.”
Plans to triple the capacity of Kinder Morgan’s existing pipeline were approved in 2016, but McDade says several legal challenges have yet to be resolved and he plans to appeal a December ruling which favoured Kinder Morgan.