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 â€“ weeks after the window for residents to participate has closed.
â€œItâ€™s only fair that residents living along the alternative routes be given the same chance to participate,â€� said NDP Energy and Natural Resources critic Peter Julian (Burnaby-New Westminster). â€œTo simply steamroll ahead at this point would set a dangerous precedent, allowing companies to circumvent meaningful consultation.â€�
The NEB now calls for public consultation before a companyâ€™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.
â€œConservatives opened the door to problems when they changed the NEB approval process,â€� said Stewart. â€œMy 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.â€�
The NEB yesterday refused Stewartâ€™s request to reopen the call for public consultation after it was recently revealed that the companyâ€™s original application did not include maps showing alternative routes through the city of Burnaby