Mayor asks Trudeau to stop NEB process

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan is calling on Canada’s new prime minister to halt the National Energy Board review for the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion.

On behalf of council, Corrigan wrote Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urging him to overhaul the “inadequate National Energy Board process,” starting with Kinder Morgan’s application to twin the Trans Mountain pipeline, which ends in Burnaby.

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“The overhaul we are requesting would begin with suspension of the current Trans Mountain National Energy Board review process, as it has looming deadlines that would perpetuate the current, deeply flawed NEB process that the public and your government have already acknowledged is inadequate,” wrote Corrigan, who could not be reached for an interview. “This will ensure appropriate project review, guaranteeing that all stakeholders, First Nations and potential environmental impacts are duly represented and considered.”

Corrigan’s missive mentioned the city has stopped filing information requests from Kinder Morgan because Burnaby has lost confidence in the NEB process itself. The mayor also urged Trudeau to develop a national energy strategy that would consider the “potential benefits” of building refineries in Canada instead of exporting raw bitumen overseas.

Both Trudeau and local Liberal MP Terry Beech have already indicated the Kinder Morgan application will not proceed as planned. That doesn’t mean the project is dead in the water; it could simply mean Kinder Morgan has more hoops to jump through to obtain the necessary social licence Trudeau mentioned during the election campaign. 

On Nov. 4, Trudeau introduced his new cabinet, with Manitoba MP James Carr as Minister of Natural Resources.

NEB spokesperson Craig Loewen said Natural Resources Canada has been in touch with the NEB since Carr was appointed, but he wouldn’t say what was discussed. 

“That I will leave for them to discuss with you,” he said.

No one from Natural Resources was available to comment.

Kinder Morgan wants to twin the Trans Mountain pipeline as part of a $5.4-billion expansion that would nearly triple shipping capacity from 300,000 barrels of oil per day to 890,000. The plan includes expanding the Burnaby Mountain tank farm and the Westridge Marine Terminal.

The NEB’s deadline for the final recommendation on the pipeline is May 20, 2016.

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