Energy East changing hearing process after Montreal 2016 protest

Energy East

Energy East CP photo by Paul Chiasson.

Four board members to make changes to hearing process with public and Indigenous input

The National Energy Board (NEB) is gathering input from Indigenous peoples and the public to help shape changes to hearing process and other engagement activities for Energy East and Eastern Mainline projects until July 15, according to a press release.

Relevant findings from  engagement efforts will be filed on official record for the Hearing Panel to consider as they make changes to the hearing process.

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Energy East is a proposed 4,500-kilometre pipeline that would carry 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries in Eastern Canada and a marine terminal in New Brunswick.

The Eastern Mainline Pipeline is a proposal to build approximately 279 kilometres of new gas pipeline and related components, beginning near Markham, Ontario and finishing near Brouseville, Ontario.

In May the NEB announced that future projects would have a decision timeline of a maximum of three years, with increased consultation with the public and indigenous communities.

The oil and gas industry has also been critical of lengthy and expensive reviews that have uncertain outcomes. For instance, Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project from Bruderheim, Alta. to Kitimat, BC was rejected last fall after the company spent approximately $300 million on a process that spanned more than 10 years.

An approval hearing panel for Energy East in Montreal Aug. 2016 had to be cancelled after the hearing became violent and a protester was arrested. With a new panel and the modernization of the NEB by the Trudeau government, it’s expected to streamline the process towards a decision.

Hearing activities will be led by a team of four Board Members who are independent from the Hearing Panel: Alain Jolicoeur, Wilma Jacknife, Damien Côté and Ronald Durelle.

Since this information cannot always be shared adequately or appropriately in writing, the NEB is inviting Indigenous peoples to provide oral traditional evidence as has been done in previous hearings.

They will be gathering comments by meeting with Indigenous peoples and through a new online engagement platform.

Energy East

The four Board Members hope to engage with many of the more than 200 groups of indigenous peoples who may be impacted by the projects.

One of the key aspects of these discussions will be to identify the best ways to collect oral traditional evidence.

 

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