Chaotic NEB process continues to hinder public participation
Is shifting dates twice midsummer a deliberate tactic?
The National Energy Board has suddenly moved up a key deadline in Kinder Morgan’s pipeline review process, only days after extending it, surprising people intending to write letters of comment and calling into question the NEB’s management of the process.
On July 17, 2015, the NEB changed the deadline for commenter letters from July 23 to September 3. This was intended to allow time for participants to respond to Draft Conditions that will be released by the NEB on August 12.
But on July 28, the NEB again changed the date, to August 18, leaving commenters only six days to respond to the Draft Conditions. Even those whose letters of comment do not respond the Draft Conditions have suddenly had their deadline moved up in the middle of summer.
“This is simply the latest sorry episode in a deeply flawed and unfair process,” said Larissa Stendie, Sierra Club BC’s Energy and Climate Campaigner. “Changing the date mid-summer when people are either away or have arranged their holidays around being involved, and then providing only a six day window for them to respond, shows an utter disregard for participants and calls into question whether the NEB is conducting its hearings in good faith.”
An August 18 deadline would also give Kinder Morgan only two days to read and react to the hundreds of letters submitted by commenters.
Commenter and PIPE-UP spokesperson Lynn Perrin is concerned about how seriously the NEB panel itself will consider what is contained in the letters of “directly affected” residents. “This change in altering the deadline is one more indication that our very diverse comments will be marginalized or ignored. “
“We are calling on the NEB to retain the September 3 deadline to ensure all participants who wish to submit a letter of comment can do so,” said Stendie. “Makes me wonder if we should expect more ‘errors’ like this from the NEB, given their constrained capacity under dramatically shortened timelines.”
“Whether you are for or against this pipeline, you must always be for your democratic right to participate in major decisions like this,” said Eoin Madden, the Wilderness Committee’s Climate Campaigner. “Years of Federal Government policy has brought us to this sorry place where Canadians are being shut out at a time when a stable, predictable climate hangs in the balance.”
On June 29, 2015, Sierra Club BC issued a report authored by Stendie entitled Credibility Crisis that details the many problems with the NEB’s Kinder Morgan review. The full report can be found at: http://www.sierraclub.bc.ca/our-work/mining-energy/neb-review-of-trans-mountain-dangerously-flawed.
Energy and Climate Campaigner, Sierra Club BC
Climate Change Campaigner, Wilderness Committee
Cell: 604 353 9603
The full Credibility Crisis report can be found at: http://www.sierraclub.bc.ca/our-work/mining-energy/neb-review-of-trans-mountain-dangerously-flawed