Conservative changes to the National Energy Board (NEB) pipeline approval process are again resulting in weaker public consultation, says the NDP.
In January, the NEB issued a call for those directly affected by the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion route through Burnaby to participate in the approval process. However, the application focused on a map of a single route, not the alternatives Kinder Morgan is exploring and has told residents it now prefers – weeks after the window for residents to participate has closed.
“It’s only fair that residents living along the alternative routes be given the same chance to participate,” said NDP Energy and Natural Resources critic Peter Julian (Burnaby-New Westminster). “To simply steamroll ahead at this point would set a dangerous precedent, allowing companies to circumvent meaningful consultation.”
The NEB now calls for public consultation before a company’s application is deemed complete, resulting in people being left out, like in Burnaby. NDP MP Kennedy Stewart (Burnaby-Douglas) raised concerns in the House of Commons yesterday on behalf of his constituents, calling on the government to support the reopening of the pipeline hearing process.
“Conservatives opened the door to problems when they changed the NEB approval process,” said Stewart. “My constituents are just now finding out that a pipeline may go through their backyards, after the call for consultation has already closed. This is unacceptable.”
The NEB yesterday refused Stewart’s request to reopen the call for public consultation after it was recently revealed that the company’s original application did not include maps showing alternative routes through the city of Burnaby.