‘Tran­si­tion phase’ for re­views: Carr

Aim is to re­store pub­lic con­fi­dence, min­is­ter says

Metro Canada (Winnipeg) - - METRO NEWS -

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

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