Province should be doing its own assessment, groups say
VANCOUVER – Ecojustice lawyers, on behalf of Living Oceans Society, have filed a motion with the National Energy Board requesting that the Province of British Columbia answer questions relating to the five conditions it has imposed on Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion application.
“The Province has signed away its responsibility to assess this project to B.C. standards, deferring to the National Energy Board,” said Karen Campbell, Ecojustice lawyer. “B.C. has also elected to file no evidence in the National Energy Board review process. We are asking B.C. to explain how costs and benefits to the Province of B.C. are being weighed given that the province is not conducting its own environmental assessment.”
In 2010, the province agreed to harmonize the B.C. and National Energy Board approval processes, meaning that the review for the Kinder Morgan project would be conducted by the Board.
“In 2012, Premier Christy Clark outlined five conditions that heavy oil pipelines must meet in order to be approved,” said Karen Wristen, Executive Director of Living Oceans Society. “Yet the government did not take back the power to issue, or refuse, that approval.”
“It is difficult to see how the current National Energy Board review could possibly address Premier Clark’s conditions,” said Campbell. “The process is not designed to gather information about costs and benefits for British Columbia, but for Canada as a whole.”
The 2010 Environmental Assessment Equivalency Agreement contains a clause that would allow B.C. to withdraw on 30 days’ notice.
“Living Oceans believes that Premier Clark should withdraw from the agreement and strike a customized process under the B.C. Environmental Assessment Act,” said Wristen. “The Minister could allow the Environmental Assessment Office to take advantage of the evidence filed with the NEB to date, while conducting a full and proper inquiry into the environmental, health and safety issues as well as the full costs of this project to British Columbians.”