Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right and Edmonton member of parliament, Randy Boissonnault visit the Kinder Morgan terminal in Edmonton on Tuesday June 5, 2018. Trudeau says he is overhauling how Canada assesses big energy projects in order to get Canada to the point where new projects can get built without the government having to buy them to make that happen. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

Energy assessment law needed to avoid another Trans Mountain impasse, PM says

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s overhauling the program

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is overhauling how Canada assesses big energy projects in a bid to ensure new projects can get built without the government having to buy them to make that happen.

“We’re going to work to make sure that we’re creating a system where you don’t have to pass a law to get a pipeline built, you don’t have to buy an energy project in order to de-risk it,” Trudeau said in a recent interview with The Canadian Press.

“We want an energy sector where the private sector has confidence in getting our resources to markets.”

The government’s $4.5 billion purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline was one of the biggest — and possibly most unexpected — political manoeuvres the Liberals made in 2018. The government bought it from Kinder Morgan at the end of the summer after political opposition to expanding the pipeline gave the company and its investors cold feet.

READ MORE: Pipeline protesters arrested at B.C. university

Trans Mountain hit a major snag in August when the Federal Court of Appeal tore up federal approval for the expansion citing insufficient environment and Indigenous consultations. The government is trying to get it back on track by redoing parts of those consultations to do what the court said was lacking.

Trudeau believes his government’s Impact Assessment Act will fix a flawed review process that created the uncertainty around Trans Mountain. Bill C-69 is one of the last big pieces of legislation the government wants passed before the next election — and potentially is in for a very rough ride.

The bill sets in place new timelines and parameters for reviews, lifts limits set by the previous Conservatives on who can participate in the process, and creates an early-phase consultation with Indigenous communities and anyone else impacted by the project to identify concerns.

Trudeau said is open to amendments if it makes the bill better, but added he won’t agree to dropping the legislation entirely. He said not passing the legislation is not an option if Canadians want to see their resources developed.

“No matter how much we’re investing in the knowledge economy and education, Canada will always have a core of natural resources as an important part of our economy,” he said.

A Senate committee is scheduled to start hearings on C-69 at the end of January, but the bill faces stiff opposition from Conservative senators spurred by an angry oil industry and the Alberta government.

Conservative natural resources critic Shannon Stubbs said if the law is approved, there won’t be any new energy projects like pipelines approved in Canada because no investor would believe it could withstand the tests required under C-69.

Stubbs said she thinks the bill needs to be scrapped altogether, or at the very least remove the discretion for the government to put the proposed two-year review process on hold. She also wants the government to rework the bill so that environmental assessments only contemplate greenhouse gas emissions produced by the pipeline itself and not those produced by the refining process.

The bill does not specifically require upstream emissions be looked at. Rather, the legislation says the project has to be considered in terms of its impact on Canada meeting its greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mass-timber project in Esquimalt switches from condos to rentals

Corvette Landing will now offer rental units in the area

Improperly transporting a pet in the back of the truck can cost up to $368

Police recommend keeping all animals inside the passenger portion of the vehicle

VIDEO: Royals squashed by Giants in 6–2 loss

Victoria will leave for six-game road trip, returns home Feb. 7

Minister of state promises to look into closure of North Saanich child-care program

Closure of Beacon’s Nature Club affected two dozen families

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

‘Extensive’ work planned at Big Bar landslide ahead of salmon, steelhead migration

Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan visited the site of the slide from June

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Royal deal clears way for Harry, Meghan part-time Canada move: experts

Keith Roy of the Monarchist League of Canada said the deal is exactly what Harry and Meghan asked for

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Most Read