Sunday, April 29, 2012

Pipeline rules?

New rules may hinder Enbridge pipeline: ex-exec.

So read the headline published in the NATIONAL POST dated April 27, 2012 and written by a Jeffrey Jones.

When it comes to problems, the government seems to “think,” it has the solutions.

Over a century ago, Duncan Campbell Scott, former Minister of Indian Affairs in the MacDonald government once uttered, “We have an Indian problem.”

The solution to that problem was?...Indian Residential schools.  That system and disrespect towards Aboriginal people finally led to an apology by Prime Minister Harper in 2008 with financial compensation to all former Survivors who had attended those schools.

Today, the solution to major oil and gas projects? rules.

“They’re trying to solve the Enbridge challenges with a regulatory change, and I don’t think that’s appropriate. If you want to fix things, then sit down and think about it,” says Roger Harris, former vice president of aboriginal and community partnerships for Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines in 2008 and 2009 and, now a respected consultant.

Currently, the National Energy Board (NEB) oversees major projects like the proposed Gateway pipeline with its regulatory process, a process that includes addressing environmental, social-economic, economic, engineering, stakeholder, and aboriginal issues. And, in due process with no real time-line. Seems, the Harper government is discontent and therefore, wants new rules.

“Among the revamps, the number of federal departments and agencies that participate in reviews will be chopped to three from more than 40, provinces will be able to conduct reviews if they meet federal standards, and review proceedings for major developments such as Northern Gateway will be limited to 24 months.”

And, get this. The new rules are even retroactive to include the proposed
Gateway pipeline and Harper’s government can push aside and take over the role of the NEB if and when they want the final say.

What does Mr. Harris think?

“…when a time limit is enforced, or even the Cabinet makes a decision to move ahead on a project, it creates the perfect landscape for legal action, and it’s going to have project proponents in courts forever.”

“Many First Nations say they fear construction and operation of the pipeline will threaten traditional ways of life and leave their territories and coastal waters at risk of oil spills. Some have said court actions are a certainty if it is approved.”

As mentioned on a previous blog post, perhaps this proposed Enbridge pipeline will lead the lawyers to the only bridge constructed….the bridge to retirement.  Perhaps, the government will have to consider another solution…even more rules?