Ottawa – A huge Federal shakeup on how major energy projects go through the approval process in our country.
This comes too late for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline project, but it is obvious, it came into play for this decision.
(Shortly after this announcement, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr says the federal government will step in when necessary to ensure the Trans Mountain expansion project gets built, but is giving few details on how it plans to do so.)
In short, the proposal is that any major new energy projects will have to be assessed and either approved or denied within two years.
The new and overhauled national assessment bill was introduced in the House of Commons on Thursday.
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna tabled the 341-page Impact Assessment Act. It is supposed to provide clarity on how the process works, what hoops and paperwork companies need to do, and why and how decisions are made.
Major projects will continue to be evaluated by a federally appointed review panel (similar to the Canadian Energy Regulator — the new name of the NEB National Energy Board).
Smaller projects that do not have assessment requirements as technical as their larger cousins, will need to be decided on within 300 days, instead of the current 450.
(Surrey) Fleetwood-Port Kells Liberal MP Ken Hardie told FVN : “Trying for a balance between an all-inclusive process that covers the right issues on the projects that really matter while not tangling people up in unnecessary elements that serve only to burn up time. The environment and the economy are not an ‘either/or’ proposition; we need to support both.”