‘Transition phase’ for reviews: Carr
Aim is to restore public confidence, minister says
Oil pipelines Reviews of new oil pipeline projects will go through a “transition phase” while public confidence in the process is restored, says Canada’s new minister of natural resources.
But Winnipeg MP James Carr says he can’t provide details of how any reforms might affect reviews of the Energy East and Trans Mountain projects, two proposals now before the National Energy Board that would bring Alberta energy to the coasts.
“We know it’s important. We’re on it. We’re working on it now,” he said. “We understand there are questions about the review. We understand there has to be certainty. We understand there will be a transition phase.
“We also know we have to restore public confidence in the regulatory environment in this country and that’s what we intend to do.”
After U.S. President Barack Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL project, TransCanada’s Energy East and Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain proposals are considered the best remaining hopes of getting bitumen from Alberta’s oilsands to overseas markets.
In a mandate letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Carr is told to work with other ministers to restore “robust” environmental oversight in areas of federal jurisdiction. Asked if that meant climate change would be a consideration in such reviews, Carr suggested it would.
Carr said he couldn’t put a timeline on when any changes will be ready.
He believes it’s possible for Canada’s oil and gas industry to expand while the country still meets greenhouse gas reduction targets. But it will take cooperation from all the provinces as well as industry, he suggested.
Trudeau has asked Carr to begin talks with his provincial counterparts on a national energy strategy. Carr added he’s also already spoken with his U.S. and Mexican colleagues on a North American clean-energy strategy.
Carr did say the makeup of the National Energy Board, which reviews major pipelines, should broadly reflect Canadian diversity. Aboriginal voices must also be heard, he said.
Peter Watson, chairman and CEO of the board, said some reform has already taken place since he started in his role in mid-2014.
We know it’s important. We’re on it. We’re working on it
now. James Carr