TORONTO – The National Energy Board (NEB) cannot simply press pause on its review of TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline the process needs to start over from scratch for it to be credible and fair, group says.
“When all three members of the National Energy Board’s review panel for Energy East stepped down, they acknowledged that the review is tainted by a reasonable apprehension of bias. Simply replacing the former panel with a new panel won’t make the process up until now any more credible or fair,” said Dyna Tuytel, Ecojustice lawyer. “According to the law, this pipeline’s review must start over from scratch, with TransCanada resubmitting its application for review. The rules are clear, and they need to be followed.”
Today, Ecojustice lawyers, representing Transition Initiative Kenora, have submitted a letter to the NEB explaining that the finding of a reasonable apprehension of bias means that the current process is void. This means the statutory time limit no longer applies and none of the previous panel’s decisions can stand – the review process for TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline must go back to square one.
“Communities like ours need a credible review process that is fair and gives us a chance to speak up about the impacts we will face if this pipeline goes ahead. The former panel undercut the fairness of the Energy East review by their actions,” said Teika Newton, Transition Initiative Kenora executive director. “This pipeline needs a review that is fair and credible but that won’t happen by simply resuming the review when new Board members are appointed. The process needs to start over.”
In late August, Ecojustice lawyers, working on behalf of Transition Initiative Kenora, filed one of the two motions that called for NEB members involved in closed-door meetings with interested stakeholders recuse themselves from the pipeline’s review panel.