Audit finds poor tracking of pipeline safety
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.