The Council of Canadians is condemning the National Energy Board for prematurely deciding the “List of Issues” it will consider for the Energy East pipeline proposal, effectively predetermining project approval by tailoring the list to the proponent’s advantage. Yesterday, the NEB announced that it “...does not have regulatory authority over upstream or downstream activities associated with the development of oilsands, or the end use of the oil to be transported by the Project. Therefore, the Board will not consider these issues.”
The NEB is acting in bad faith and demonstrating yet again how biased it is towards the oil industry,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “This is another attempt to abdicate their authority over energy development in Canada, turning it into a free-for-all.”
The Thunder Bay chapter of the Council of Canadians, represented by Lakehead University law professor Jason MacLean, is intervening in a Federal Court of Appeal case contesting a previous “List of Issues” ruling by the NEB on Enbridge’s Line 9B pipeline project.
"The NEB’s argument before the Federal Court of Appeal in the Line 9B case is that the Board has full jurisdiction to hear and determine all matters falling under the National Energy Board Act and that it can narrow the scope of its inquiry to what it considers relevant, provided that it does so in good faith,” said Professor MacLean. “Therefore the NEB's jurisdiction is not narrow to begin with as yesterday’s List of Issues claims and I don’t believe that deciding on the issues in advance of an actual application being filed meets the legal definition of acting in good faith.”
Transporting 1.1 million barrels of oil per day, Energy East would be the largest oil pipeline in North America. The company behind the project, TransCanada Pipelines, is seeking approval to convert its forty-year-old natural gas pipeline to carry crude oil, including diluted bitumen, from the Alberta tar sands to eastern Ontario and then through a new pipeline to be built across Quebec and New Brunswick. Ninety percent of the crude in the pipeline is expected to be exported.