A calm between reviews
The summer’s reprieve from pipeline hearings was welcome, if brief. It would have been more welcome if we hadn’t been inundated with oil spills, explosions and leaking wells all summer long, but when you’re campaigning against an industry run amok, you can’t expect much time to relax!
The Northern Gateway hearings closed in June on a positive note. The Joint Review Panel published a list of conditions that it might attach to an approval of that project. While it’s hard to respond to a list of conditions that allow the pipeline to be built, the law says that Cabinet can only approve the project subject to any conditions imposed by the Panel. Right now, the proposed conditions Enbridge would have to meet are very expensive and far more comprehensive than we might have expected! That means that the Panel listened when we called for a tanker-free coast. And it means that this pipeline, even if ultimately approved by Cabinet, might not be economical enough to build!
The Panel’s recommendations are expected in mid-December and Cabinet will respond with a decision by June, 2014.
September brought the news that, even though Kinder Morgan has not yet filed its application for the new TransMountain Pipeline, the National Energy Board has begun accepting applications for intervenor funding. It’s a bit murky, figuring out what experts we need to retain to answer an application we haven’t seen, but we’re working with our colleagues at Raincoast Conservation and Forest Ethics to put forward the best possible evidence in this hearing. We are pleased that Ecojustice will be our legal counsel again. In December Kinder Morgan expects to file its project application. And then, one more time, we will try to explain to regulators why Canada is unprepared, and unwise, to ramp up ocean transport of tarsands bitumen.