NEB Expert Panel report two steps forward, one step back on climatePembina Institute reacts to release of the National Energy Board Expert Panel’s final report

May 15, 2017

Photo: Roberta Franchuk, Pembina Institute

OTTAWA — Erin Flanagan, federal policy director at the Pembina Institute, made the following statement in response to the release of the NEB Expert Panel report:

“The NEB Expert Panel has released a substantial and thoughtful report outlining key reforms to increase public confidence in energy transmission infrastructure reviews. Many of its recommendations — including the creation of new federal data and regulatory agencies — are useful and could support Canada’s successful implementation of the Paris Agreement.

“The Expert Panel, like many before it, has recommended that federal, provincial, territorial and Indigenous governments collaborate to produce a coherent and clearly defined national energy strategy. We wholeheartedly support this pursuit, but in today’s world, an energy strategy must be a climate strategy — and vice versa. In light of the commitment to ongoing collaborative climate action, we suggest the issue of a national strategic assessment on climate change be tabled at the next first ministers’ meeting on climate change. 

“While the Expert Panel report does an excellent job identifying long-standing pain points in regulatory reviews — including reconciling project emissions with Canada’s climate targets — some of its proposed solutions fall short. In particular, the recommendation that the Government of Canada make up-front recommendations on the extent to which proposed projects align with national policy objectives lacks any discussion of trade-off rules or other guidance to ensure this process is not arbitrary.

“Further, we are disappointed that the Expert Panel has not recommended all future environmental assessments (EA) for energy transmission projects be conducted at a reformed EA agency. Many experts agree that consistent application of EA law can only be achieved if all projects are reviewed under one set of rules, applied consistently. One assessment authority for all types of projects would have a greater degree of specialization, and therefore capacity, to consider the environmental and social impacts of proposed projects.

“The Expert Panel’s recommendations are only as good as the federal government’s next steps. It’s up to Prime Minister Trudeau and his Cabinet to seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform Canada’s energy project review landscape by ensuring NEB modernization works in sync with other elements of the federal environmental law reform process. Canada’s clean growth agenda needs a trusted, inclusive and unbiased federal energy regulator— and now is the time to outline a credible pathway that builds upon recommendations from the EA and NEB expert panels to ensure this outcome is achieved.”

 

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Contact

Erin Flanagan
Program director, federal policy
587-581-1701

Kelly O’Connor
Communications lead
416-220-8804

Background

Report: Good governance in the era of low carbon (March 2017)

Reacts: National Energy Board restructuring essential to credible energy infrastructure reviews (November 2016)

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