On January 27, 2016, Canada's Minister of Environment and
Climate Change and Minister of Natural Resources released their interim plans that are the first step in
updating the environmental review process to be followed for major
pipeline projects. The approach required under these interim plans
will include consideration of the direct and upstream greenhouse
gas emissions associated with the project. It is expected that this
updated approach will increase the time required for review of
projects currently under review.
The previous Federal Government made significant alterations to
the federal environmental assessment process with the enactment of
the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA,
2012). The CEAA, 2012 restricts the type of projects subject to a
federal environmental assessment, stipulates timeframes for
completing assessments and permits the Federal Government to
delegate an environmental assessment to another jurisdiction or
substitute the process of another jurisdiction to help avoid
duplication of environmental assessments for both Federal and
Provincial Governments. As indicated in the recent Speech from the Throne, the newly elected
Federal Government is undertaking a review of the CEAA, 2012 and
plans to introduce a new environmental assessment process.
The January 27, 2016 announcement describes the interim approach
that the Government will require for the review of major projects
currently under environmental review. The Government has indicated
that it will be guided by the following five principles when it
reviews any major projects during this interim period:
No project proponent will be asked to return to the starting
line — project reviews will continue within the current
legislative framework and in accordance with treaty provisions,
under the auspices of relevant responsible authorities and Northern
Decisions will be based on science, traditional knowledge of
Indigenous peoples and other relevant evidence;
The views of the public and affected communities will be sought
Indigenous peoples will be meaningfully consulted and, where
appropriate, impacts on their rights and interests will be
Direct and upstream greenhouse gas emissions linked to the
projects under review will be assessed.
These interim changes will impact two major projects currently
under review by the National Energy Board (NEB) — Kinder
Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion Project and Trans
Canada's Energy East Pipeline. For these projects, additional
information and evidence to address/satisfy the above principles
will be required in order to ensure timely decisions. According to
a recent press release, there will be "deeper
consultation" with indigenous peoples potentially affected by
the projects and an assessment of the greenhouse gas emissions
associated with each project. As a result, the time for review of
the Trans Mountain project is extended by three months and the time
for review of the Energy East project is extended by nine
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Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
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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