The twinning of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Pipeline will be subject to revised federal rules.

Feds add pipeline consultations, delay Kinder Morgan decision

Extra level of review ordered by Ottawa adds weight to aboriginal, climate concerns in deciding Trans Mountain fate

The federal government is ordering extra consultations with first nations and other communities separate from the work of the National Energy Board as part of its prescription to rebuild public confidence in the pipeline approval process.

It doesn’t halt the NEB hearings underway on Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain oil pipeline twinning, not does it delay the NEB’s deadline to deliver a recommendation to cabinet by May.

But the federal government has given itself a four-month extension of its legislated deadline to make a final decision on Trans Mountain – that must now happen by December instead of August.

The government had previously said it wouldn’t force proponents like Kinder Morgan to restart the approval process all over again.

A separate ministerial representative will be appointed to directly consult communities, including first nations, during the extension period and report back to Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr.

Funding will be provided for first nations to participate.

Direct and upstream greenhouse gas emissions linked to the projects will now be assessed, but not the downstream emissions when fossil fuels are burned in destination countries.

The climate change analysis for each project, to be conducted by the federal environment department, will be made public.

The changes effectively add an extra layer of review to plug what the government says were major gaps in the flawed NEB review process left by the Harper Conservatives.

“Without the confidence of Canadians, none of these projects will move forward,” Carr said.

He said final project decisions by cabinet will be based on science, traditional knowledge of indigenous people and other relevant evidence.

Carr wouldn’t say how much weight would be given factors such as climate change impacts or aboriginal concerns, but he cited past court rulings on the Crown’s duty to consult first nations as one reason for the change.

The NEB has been hearing final arguments of intervenors in the Trans Mountain review this month and aboriginal leaders have repeatedly criticized what they say has been a lack of meaningful consultation on the project.

The new rules, billed as a transition step ahead of new legislation to reform the NEB, will apply not just to new pipelines but to all federally reviewed projects.

Also affected are proposed liquefied natural gas plants under federal review, including the Pacific Northwest LNG project at Prince Rupert and the Woodfibre LNG proposal near Squamish, both in late stages of review.

Carr said the process won’t satisfy polarized critics who believe projects should be built either immediately or never, but will improve cabinet’s ability to render a decision.

“There are all kinds of Canadians who want to be satisfied that the process that led to a decision was a good one, a fair one and they had their say.”

The Wilderness Committee criticized the government’s failure to include downstream carbon emissions that make up the bulk of the climate impacts of new pipelines.

“A true climate test would leave regulators with no choice but to reject these projects,” said campaigner Peter McCartney. “Tacking on some window dressing doesn’t make these projects any less of a climate catastrophe.”

Kinder Morgan Canada president Ian Anderson said he’s concerned pipeline construction may be delayed, but agreed public confidence in the process is crucial.

Just Posted

School board rejects adding trustees

Support lacking to expand West Kelowna/Kelowna representation

Sustainable growth: Time to stop trashing environment

Regenerative capitalist Hunter Lovins offers economic insights at Kelowna conference

New multi-million baggage system up and running at YLW

Kelowna Airport’s $39 million outbound baggage system can handle 900 bags an hour

New safety doors aim to protect transit drivers

These new full-length doors will be tested in Victoria, Kelowna and Abbotsford

Death and fire not treated as suspicious

RCMP has turned the invesigation of Monday’s fire on Gaggin Road over to the BC Coroners Service

One person sent to hospital after fire near Keremeos

Fire ripped through a shed and Winnebego at Sunkatchers RV Park Co-operative

Osoyoos woman to be inducted into Canadian Curling Hall of Fame

Induction ceremony will take place in Penticton during Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Mudslides close Highway 1 between Hope and Chilliwack

Geotechnicians are on scene and an assessment is underway.

Canadian initiative fuelled by Terry Fox’s dream may be only hope for young cancer patients

Young cancer patients in rural or remote areas did not always get the testing available

Olympic gymnastics ex-doctor pleads guilty to sex charges

Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas are among the women who have publicly said they were among Nassar’s victims

Snow warning for the Coquihalla

Driving through highway passes will require some extra caution today.

Penticton Indian Band selects five new councillors

PIB aiming for internal reconciliation after by-election

Chiefs ground Rockets in Spokane

Former Rockets’ head coach Dan Lambert leads his Chiefs past Kelowna Wednesday in WHL action

Letter: Deer cull the only practical solution

Kelowna letter writer says deer are thriving because their natural predators are gone

Most Read