Questions about Liberal government's pipeline review process

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The Council of Canadians says the Trudeau government's interim regulations for pipeline review processes are a good first step, but that there are questions and fundamental issues that still need to be addressed.

Council of Canadians energy and climate justice campaigner Andrea Harden-Donahue writes in a campaign blog:

"Overall, it is clear that the clear criticisms of communities, groups, individuals, First Nations and experts have with the current NEB process are being recognized and heard. There will be a climate test for pipelines. There are efforts around improved consultation with First Nations and communities. There is a longer term goal of modernizing the NEB and environmental assessments given how weakened they have become (particularly under Harper changes)."

But on the key measures of the "climate test" and Indigenous consultations, Harden-Donahue comments:

  • "McKenna did confirm that projects will be assessed based on their 'upstream' (filling the pipeline, so including oil production) and 'direct' (construction) greenhouse gas emissions, but dodged a question about whether these assessments will include downstream emissions (emissions from burning the oil). There was also no mention of the 1.5-degree global warming limit Canada supported in Paris during the climate negotiations. This will be key to evaluating whether this climate test does what it needs to do."
  • "When asked a direct question about whether [deeper consultations with Indigenous peoples] will include respecting 'free prior and informed consent' as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights on Indigenous Peoples, Carr dodged a direct answer. Instead he referred to recent Supreme Court decisions and their ambition to engage in a way that factors in their cultural background and includes this in federal decision making."

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