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

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

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. Northern Health confirmed it has the lowest vaccination rates amongst the province’s five regional health authorities. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Vaccination rates in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake, Fort St James well below provincial average

COVID-19 immunization clinics for youth 12+ coming up in Fort St. James

Steve McAdam (left) is studying substrate conditions in the Nechako River and how they impact sturgeon eggs. The work will help design habitat restoration measures, said McAdam. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Sturgeon egg studies to help inform future habitat restoration

“It’s an interesting, challenging issue,” says Steve McAdam

Saik’uz First Nation Coun. Jasmine Thomas and Chief Priscilla Mueller speak about the need for addiction treatment facility near Vanderhoof, March 2021. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof addiction treatment centre tries again with ministry support

Agriculture minister insists she is not interfering in land commission

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read