Your voice needed as press secretary clarifies minister's statement on pipeline reviews

Environment minister Catherine McKenna The Trudeau government could be feeling political pressure on the question of its process for pipeline reviews.

Council of Canadians energy and climate justice campaigner Andrea Harden-Donahue has commented, "The Liberal government promised to reform the broken National Energy Board (NEB) process for reviewing pipelines, including those already under review. The existing reviews for the Energy East and Trans Mountain pipelines have shown a lack of adequate aboriginal consultation, a clear democratic deficit, and a failure to evaluate climate implications."

But on Wednesday Nov. 25, Trudeau's natural resources minister, Jim Carr, told TransCanada and Kinder Morgan, the corporations behind the Energy East and Trans Mountain pipeline proposals, that, "The proponents will not be asked to go back to square one. There will be a transition phase, and I will be working with my colleagues in order to be clear about what that transition phase means, and we will do that as soon as we can."

And then on Friday Nov. 27, Trudeau's minister for environment and climate change, Catherine McKenna, stated, "We’ve already started looking at what [reforms to the review process] will mean for existing projects and how we develop a new process for projects that come forward. I should be clear that projects initiated under the original system will continue on that path."

Now McKenna's press secretary Caitlin Workman is clarifying that statement.

She says the Liberal government "would include a transition strategy for projects currently under review to provide some certainty to industry through this change process.‎"

The CBC reports, "Trudeau said [in July] he could not be called a supporter of Energy East because of flaws in the regulatory process. ...Trudeau argued that a more stringent review that took into account community input and First Nations perspectives would ultimately make it politically easier to convince the public that new pipelines make sense. ...Workman said Monday Trudeau's July comments and the new minister's remarks Friday are 'very much on the same page'."

That said, McKenna's press secretary did not offer a timeline for any changes to the pipeline review process.

That's critical because the National Energy Board is expected to announce its recommendation on the Kinder Morgan pipeline in May 2016 and their recommendation on the Energy East project could come by April 2017.

Harden-Donahue says, "The Energy East and Trans Mountain reviews have been marred by controversy and, as they stand, are illegitimate."

To keep up the pressure on the demand that the Liberal government live up to its promises by stopping the flawed NEB review of these controversial projects and by launching a public review of Canada’s environmental assessment processes, please go to our Keep your promises, Liberals: Stop pipeline reviews action alert.

Your emails so far may already be making a difference!

Photo: Environment minister Catherine McKenna is being asked to stop the flawed NEB reviews of the Energy East and TransMountain pipelines.