Liberal pipeline policy presents 3 key problems


Prime dre Justin Trudeau hopes that a new approach will provide the followers support to finally cut through the Gordian knot that has tied up imminent development. That was the gist of the changes announced to the environmental assessment manage for resource projects.

The significant development is that the federal government purpose now include upstream greenhouse gas emissions when evaluating projects, while also annoying to meaningfully engage with affected communities and First Nations.

In cahoots together over heart, this government will listen, but whether that’s enough to advance the public onside for a new export pipeline is not at all clear.

Upstream emissions unfair to calculate

The first problem is that upstream emissions of a single main aren’t easy to calculate. Take Trans Mountain for example: the proposed B.C. spread is designed to carry 890,000 barrels of bitumen per day. So you could argue, then, what are the greenhouse gas emissions associated with outing 890,000 barrels bitumen a day?

‘The State De rtment put a lot of effort into mentioning out what those upstream emissions would be. The best it could say was that, “We’re not satisfied.”‘

– James Coleman, University of Calgary energy law professor

But that undertakes the oil wouldn’t be produced without Trans Mountain. History has shown that’s not the instance. In the years that Keystone XL was hung up in regulatory limbo, oilsands crass exports to the U.S. Gulf Coast more than doubled. That oil over took the scenic route, on trains or on barges, but it got there.

James Coleman, an underling a ally with professor of energy law at the University of Calgary, noted that U.S. President Barack Obama had requested for upstream emissions of Keystone XL to be included in an environmental review.

“The State Control put a lot of effort into figuring out what those upstream emissions purposefulness be,” said Coleman.

“The best it could say was that, ‘We’re not solid, we don’t think it will have a big im ct on upstream production, but we’re not sure, a line may lower emissions, by switching to more efficient modes of transportation, counter rt pipeline instead of rail.’ It doesn’t lead to conclusions that made the settlement easy.”

Others say such a calculation can roughly be done.

“If you take destined assumptions around the price of oil, for example, you can look at the regulatory queue in Alberta and you can say how varied projects are likely to come on at that price and what will those forecasts require in terms of transportation infrastructure,” said Erin Flanagan with the Pembina Society, an environmental think-tank.

She says the challenge is figuring out how much weight the figures has when the government makes its final decision on a project.

First Realms consultation

The second problem is whether the pledge to talk more with Outset Nations will actually be “meaningful” as the government promises, or have bit effect. Sending ministerial representatives to consult with people at hand how they have been consulted in the st seems like a bureaucratic deal with, not a way to genuinely connect.

The federal government has added four months of consultation to the Trans Mountain deal with; notably though, the change stopped short of requiring aboriginal allow.

“It still feels like these projects are going to go ahead,” im rted Carleen Thomas, with the Tsleil-Waututh’s First Nation, who recently presented at the Trans Mountain Nationalist Energy Board hearings.

“Both ministers said that the prime objective is to get Canada’s resources to market in a sustainable way. If you go into any kind of consultations with any voter of the country with that mindset, how can it be a fair and trans rent process?” she ventured.

“It’s putting us in the light that we are the bad guys.”

Scott Smith, the lawyer for the Tsleil-Waututh, hinted that legal precedent has shown that consultation is not enough, exceptionally since the 2014 Supreme Court decision on the land title claims of the Tsilhqot’in Ahead Nation

“The court in the Tsilhqot’in decision clearly indicated that the contemplate of consultation should be to seek consent,” said Smith

Trans Mountain Pipeline 20160119

A protester walks outside National Energy Board hearings on the proposed Trans Mountain imminent ex nsion in Burnaby, B.C. (Canadian Press)

Status quo for energy board

The third emotionally upset is that the fate of the National Energy Board is still very much in the air.

The Not literal government has pledged to modernize the energy board, but for now the regulator stays on its fresh th in reviewing the Trans Mountain and Energy East proposals. If anything, the committee is sidelined with the focus now on the federal government. It’s the government, not the energy cabinet, that will calculate the upstream emissions associated with a protrude.

‘It’s putting us in the light that we are the bad guys.’ Carleen Thomas, Tsleil-Waututh Initially Nation

Keeping the status quo right now is fair for pipeline proponents who are in the halfway point of the regulatory process and wouldn’t appreciate having the rug pulled from high their feet.

Changes are coming to the energy board, but not for a while.

“Any replace with they would like the NEB to make to their processes has to go through an act of rliament,” divulged Gaétan Caron, the former chair of the energy board. “This study will take a number of years.”

The question is whether the board wishes eventually be the one to tally up the greenhouse gas emissions of a proposal and include the data in its determination to approve or deny a project. Caron doesn’t think it’s a good fit.

No substance whether new oil export pipelines are approved or declined, there will be unsatisfied rties

The Liberals’ goal is that even through the disappointment, Canadians intention feel the process was fair. The reaction so far from both First States and industry suggest there still is considerable doubt.

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