Ottawa remains committed to building pipelines, but still short on details

Ottawa remains committed to building pipelines, but still short on details

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau toured Alberta this week, taking the time to meet with Premier Rachel Notley, who is still fuming from the cancellation of federal permits for the Trans Mountain Expansion Pipeline (TMEP).

Notley insists the federal Liberals have a plan to resume construction on TMEP within "weeks," although Ottawa has yet to announce a path forward or formally commit to any timelines. Trudeau says all options are on the table, including filing an appeal to the Supreme Court.

In the meantime, the PM says his government will work towards more consultations with First Nations communities and tending to the needs of the Southern resident killer whales, two deficiencies cited by the Federal Court of Appeal in its ruling last week.

Also on Ottawa's agenda later this month is Bill C-69, which would see the creation of a new Impact Assessment Agency for approvals of resource projects. The new process redefines the mandate of the National Energy Board, promising to be less energy-focused with a greater emphasis on climate-change accounting. Approvals will required more input from Indigenous peoples and "gender-based analysis" of data, extending the time for project approvals to a minimum of 3 years.

Not surprisingly, the new plan is being blasted by the province of Alberta and the energy sector, who worry the review process will be longer and more complicated. CAPP CEO Tim McMillan warns that Canada's regulatory review process is already "so complex that not even the government or the regulator understands it."

The federal Liberals insist the changes are required to restore confidence in the system. Bill C-69 will have its second reading in Parliament later this month, which reconvenes on September 17, 2018.

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