It's out with the old and in with the new as the National Energy Board has formed a new Hearing Panel assigned to review the Energy East and Eastern Mainline applications and voided all decisions made by the previous Hearing Panel.
These decisions will be removed from the official hearing record.
Part of the pipeline is near Trout Lake, the source of North Bay's drinking water.
Previous decisions that have been voided include:
- Determination that the Energy East and Eastern Mainline applications are complete;
- Decision to review the Energy East and Eastern Mainline applications via a single hearing;
- List of Participants and any subsequent individual rulings on participation;
- Lists of Issues and factors to be included in the environmental assessments under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012; and,
- Hearing Order.
All hearing steps and related deadlines are no longer applicable. The new Hearing Panel will decide how to move forward with the hearing.
Those who have already submitted an application to participate do not need to reapply.
Northwatch, a northern Ontario environmental coalition intervening in the review of TransCanada's Energy East project welcomed today's announcement that the decisions of a previous Panel are being declared "void", but is calling for the review to be put on hold until after the NEB modernization review is completed.
"The newly appointed NEB panel is sending some positive signals with their announcement today that they are starting the Energy East review process over, including reviewing the issues list", commented Northwatch project coordinator Brennain Lloyd.
"But the NEB itself is in need of an overhaul, and we're not at all confident that the NEB is the right body for this review".
"We are taking the same message to each of these review processes: projects like Energy East need to be the subject of full reviews that consider environmental risk, climate impacts and whether there is a social license to operate the project", explained Northwatch president Kathleen Brosemer.
"The NEB is not the group that can deliver the kind of review that Energy East requires".
Last September more than 50 groups from across Canada sent a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and Natural Resources Minister Carr urging the federal government to overhaul the National Energy Board (NEB) before, not after, it decides how to proceed with the two proposed oil pipelines. The groups include 26 participants in the Energy East pipeline process, as well as intervenors from the Kinder Morgan pipeline review. Five of the signator groups are from northeastern Ontario.
Energy East is a 4,500-kilometre pipeline proposal to carry 1.1-million barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries in Eastern Canada and a marine terminal in New Brunswick.