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

Ladysmith fabric designer donates her time to make free face masks and gowns

Nikki MacCallum works three days a week on masks and gowns, and three days on her regular business

LDCU offers no interest loans for members in need

Existing members can borrow up to $5,000 interest free

Sweet treat helps make Chemainus Health Care Centre workers feel complete

Girl Guide cookies always in good taste when showing appreciation

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

COVID-19: Isolation exemptions to frontline workers a danger to patients, say Island Health employees

Staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel according to Island Health

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

Ongoing list of Ladysmith COVID-19 cancellations and closures

Everything in Ladysmith that has been impacted by COVID-19

UPDATE: Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Liberals delay release of 75% wage subsidy details, costs: Morneau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

World COVID-19 update: NATO suspicious of Russian military drills; Cruise ships ordered to stay at sea

Comprehensive update of coronavirus news from around the world for Wednesday, April 1

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

Most Read