TIK Statement on TransCanada's Amended Energy East Project Applicaton
Kenora, ON – TransCanada’s filing yesterday of substantial project amendments for the proposed Energy East pipeline puts the onus on the National Energy Board to decide the next steps for this massive national energy project. This comes at a time when regulatory processes governing pipeline reviews are in flux.
Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr has recently indicated that all projects “currently under review” by the Board will be addressed in a “transition period” and will not be required to “go back to square one”. However, the Board’s public hearing on Energy East has not yet begun.
The public hearing on Energy East will start only when the National Energy Board rules that the project application is complete. With yesterday’s filing, that completeness determination could come soon, triggering a compressed 15-month hearing under the Harper government’s 2012 changes to National Energy Board Act.
Given the government’s intention to reform pipeline hearing processes, the best course of action is to ensure the hearing doesn’t start under current legislation. To do otherwise risks engaging the proponent and intervenors in unnecessary and costly procedural delays and duplication of effort if the hearing process is changed mid-stream. It also reduces the chance that a flawed process produces a flawed outcome.
Among the potential regulatory changes that would have substantial impacts on the Energy East hearing may be changes to time limits for the hearings, adding upstream greenhouse gas emissions impacts to the list of issues to be reviewed, and guaranteeing minimum procedural rights to intervenors such as the right to provide oral evidence or to test evidence through cross-examination.
 House of Commons Debates, 42nd Parl, 1st Sess, Vol 148, No 005 (9 December 2015) at 1435 (Hon Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources).