Hearing Panel raises profile of technical, safety, security, and emergency preparedness and response considerations
CALGARY, Aug. 23, 2017 /CNW/ – The National Energy Board (NEB) has announced the topics that will be part of its assessment of the Energy East and Eastern Mainline Projects. This decision follows a comment period during which about 820 submissions were received.
The Hearing Panel noted the public’s interest in better understanding the risks associated with potential accidents and system malfunctions that may, for example, lead to an oil spill into the environment. As a result, the assessment will provide more visibility to the evaluation of such scenarios, their potential consequences, the proposed mitigation and response measures, as well as the preventative programs aimed at reducing or eliminating risk factors.
In addition, the NEB will consider upstream and downstream greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in determining whether these projects are in the public interest. The NEB also wants to examine the potential market impacts of GHGs reduction targets embedded in laws and policies on the economic viability of the projects.
A broad range of topics will be covered by the NEB’s assessment, including Indigenous participation in the projects throughout their lifecycles, landowner and municipal considerations, cumulative environmental effects, as well as socio-economic elements. The full list of topics to be considered by the NEB is contained in each project’s final List of Issues and Factors and Scope of the Factors for the Environmental Assessment. Today’s decision establishes the foundations for a thorough assessment based on science, traditional knowledge of Indigenous peoples, and other relevant evidence.
The next step leading to the Hearing Order, which will contain more details about the hearing calendar, is a comment period on the completeness of TransCanada’s applications. This will represent another early opportunity for the public to provide input in the assessment of these two major projects. An additional period to apply to participate will also be announced. The NEB will communicate more details as soon as they become available.
- Under the National Energy Board Act, the NEB reviews applications to build and operate new pipelines and makes its recommendation based on the Canadian public interest. The public interest includes all Canadians and refers to a balance of economic, environmental and social (including health) interests.
- The NEB is responsible for carrying out, for each project, an environmental assessment (EA) under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012. An EA is a planning tool and serves to review the effects likely to be associated with a project. It also considers possible ways (mitigation) available to reduce environmental effects and an assessment of how those affects may act cumulatively with similar effects of other projects and activities in a region.
- Upstream GHGs include all industrial activities from the point of resource extraction to the project under review. The specific processes included as upstream activities will vary by resource and project type, but in general they include extraction, processing, handling and transportation.
- Downstream GHGs include all activities from the point of the product leaving the project to the final end-use. The processes will include further refining and processing, transportation and end-use combustion.
- Energy East is a 4,500-kilometre pipeline proposed 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.
- The Eastern Mainline Pipeline is a proposal to build approximately 279 kilometres of new gas pipeline and related components, beginning near Markham, Ontario and finishing near Brouseville, Ontario.
- Final Lists of Issues & Factors and Scopes of the Factors for the Environmental Assessment
- Regulating in the public interest
- The NEB and environmental assessment
- Energy East and Eastern Mainline Project webpage
The National Energy Board is an independent federal regulator of several parts of Canada’s energy industry. It regulates pipelines, energy development and trade in the public interest with safety as its primary concern. For more information on the NEB and its mandate, please visit www.neb-one.gc.ca.