A number of news stories caught the attention of pipeline
watchers last week.
On Monday, the UN's Special Rapporteur released hisreporton the rights of Indigenous people.
The report followed his eight day information gathering visit to
Canada in October 2013. The Report was extensive and addressed
socio-economic issues. It referenced some of the Canada's major
resource development plans including Enbridge Northern Gateway and
Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline. The Report noted the
complexities of Canada's duty to consult and the lack of
consistent framework for consultation. It urged Canada to put in
place a framework that allows for genuine input and involvement at
the earliest stages of decision making. It urged governments to
maximize benefits for indigenous peoples from extractive
opportunities within their lands.
On Tuesday, the federal government announced new rules for the
way pipelines are approved and run. These include $1 billion
absolute liability for oils spills, greater consultation with First
nations and expanded oversight by the National Energy Board.
Observers suggest that these changes are not materially new and are
paving the way for the anticipated Cabinet decision on Northern
Gateway next month.
The TransCanada's Energy East pipeline met its first court
challenge last week when the Council of Canadians filed a motion
with the Federal Court of Appeal. TransCanada's Energy East
pipeline is proposed to transport oil from Hardisty Alberta to
Saint John New Brunswick. TransCanada is preparing to file its full
application with the National Energy Board (NEB) later this year.
The NEB is conducting open houses and has developed a List of Issues. The motion has asked the Federal Court
of Appeal to set aside the List of Issues. The Council of
Canadians' motion raises substantive process concerns.
Substantively the list does not include a consideration of the
potential impacts that the pipeline may have on climate change
emissions, increased oil sands production on downstream First
Nations or that it is exporting unrefined oil. Their procedural
concern is that the NEB has departed from its past practice of
allowing interested parties to comment on the List of Issues for
major projects. The Federal Court will hear from the NEB and will
then decide whether or not to allow the appeal to proceed.
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The Government of Alberta recently announced a number of policy changes that will impact the Alberta Electricity Market, composed of its generators, transmitters, distributors, retailers, electricity consumers and wholesale electricity market.
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