BC groups question NEB decision on Energy East pipeline

Burnaby – Community and conservation groups throughout BC are arguing the National Energy Board’s decision to re-start the review of the Energy East pipeline once again highlights the arbitrary and political nature of energy project reviews.

“Justin Trudeau promised to overhaul the Harper NEB before pipeline reviews could proceed,” said Sophie Harrison of Dogwood. “He told British Columbians on camera and in writing that the Kinder Morgan process would be re-done. Once he took power, those promises went out the window.”

The Energy East review was rocked by controversy after investigative reporter Mike De Souza found panel members had met secretly with a lobbyist for the proponent before beginning hearings. Accused of bias, the three panel members stepped down. Today the NEB confirmed their work has been thrown out and the review will start over.

“What’s frustrating is that we had the same problems in BC,” said Harrison. “Steven Kelly worked as a consultant writing Kinder Morgan’s application before jumping over to the NEB as a board member. Last year the Trudeau government’s ‘supplementary panel’ met with Kinder Morgan before starting their review. But in that case Ottawa ignored concerns over bias and just plowed ahead.”

The Trudeau government approved the new Trans Mountain pipeline in November 2016, but the decision now faces 17 separate legal challenges, several of which focus on procedural fairness.

“I can’t help but notice that the Trudeau government holds a lot more seats along the Energy East route than they do in British Columbia,” said Harrison. “It feels like they’re playing favourites with the regions that they need to get re-elected. Meanwhile B.C. is considered politically expendable.”

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