Au­dit finds poor track­ing of pipe­line safety

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

The Lib­eral govern­ment is promis­ing “in­stant ac­tion’’ by the Na­tional En­ergy Board and a new en­vi­ron­men­tal re­view process within days in the face of a damn­ing au­dit that found the arms-length board fails to prop­erly track pipe­line ap­proval con­di­tions or fol­low up on com­pli­ance prob­lems.

Nat­u­ral Re­sources Min­is­ter Jim Carr has been un­der heavy op­po­si­tion fire in the House of Com­mons for two straight days with stalled pipe­line megapro­jects threat­en­ing to di­vide the coun­try along re­gional lines.

A re­port tabled Tues­day by fed­eral en­vi­ron­ment com­mis­sioner Julie Gelfand only added to the bar­rage. Gelfand’s au­dit de­ter­mined the Cal­gary-based NEB isn’t ad­e­quately check­ing to en­sure that some 73,000 kilo­me­tres of ex­ist­ing oil and gas pipe­lines be­ing run by about 100 com­pa­nies are op­er­at­ing safely.

The re­port landed as Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau was in Mon­treal meet­ing Mayor De­nis Coderre, who led a coali­tion of Mon­treal-area mu­nic­i­pal lead­ers last week in op­pos­ing the pro­posed En­ergy East pipe­line pro­ject over what they see as en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns. Gelfand’s re­port will do lit­tle to re­as­sure pipe­line skep­tics. The au­dit checked 49 pipe­line ap­proval con­di­tions and found 24 in which key doc­u­men­ta­tion was miss­ing, in­ac­cu­rate or lacked an anal­y­sis or con­clu­sion.

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