Lakeland MP Shannon Stubbs has released a statement today expressing frustration with the government’s decision not to approve the Northern Gateway Pipeline.
“While I welcome the approval of both Trans Mountain and Line 3 expansion projects, there’s still no indication when, or if, these pipelines will actually get done,” she says. “There is still a long road ahead for Canada. The Liberals need to champion these critical infrastructure projects, and work with proponents to ensure the conditions aren’t permanent roadblocks, in order to create jobs and to get Canadian energy to market.
Stubbs isn’t too impressed with how the eventually approved Trans Mountain pipeleine was handled either.
“The independent, evidence based, independent, expert National Energy Board approved Trans Mountain earlier this year on May 18th, 2016. The Prime Minister and cabinet delayed the process by seven months, causing uncertainty for TransMountain, other pipeline proposals, and for the hundreds of thousands of people whose livelihoods depend on the energy sector. But the approval of TransMountain isn’t a complete surprise since the Prime Minister had already spoken in favour of that project during the past several months and in the election campaign. Ultimately, this approval was based on partisan calculations and politics, just like the rejection of the Northern Gateway pipeline, which the Prime Minister had also spoken against publicly on several occasions. It doesn’t enhance confidence in the Canadian regulatory system, or certainty for investors, when the process is stopped and started arbitrarily, on a project by project basis, and it seems the experts are irrelevant while the final decisions are political and partisan.”
“On Northern Gateway, the pipeline that would actually diversify Canada’s customers by getting Canadian energy to tidewater and then to Asian markets, the Liberals actually outright overruled and rejected the decision of the independent regulator, with no options for the NEB or for the Northern Gateway project, and have closed the door on billions of dollars and years of hard work done by the proponent, community members and First Nations partners. What happened on Tuesday is clearly political, personal decision making. Not one based on fact, scientific and evidence based expert recommendations; the Liberals keep claiming they are trying to “restore confidence” in the regulatory system, but they are actually undermining it consistently. Getting Canada’s energy resources to tidewater and diversifying the customer base is key for the long term sustainability of the sector, and must be a priority now more than ever.
With the two approvals and one rejection this week, several other pipeline projects are still on the table for approval. Stubbs isn’t confident with how they’re being handled.
“Canada needs more pipelines. The future of Keystone XL and Energy East are unknown. It’s clear the new US President-Elect will aggressively pursue US energy development and independence, so it is equally important for Canada’s Prime Minister and cabinet to secure agreement on the completion of Keystone XL to increase export capacity into the US, and to expedite the responsible approval of energy transportation infrastructure to diversify Canadian energy export markets and to expand the customer base for Canadian energy around the world. The Liberals have delayed Energy East, over and over again. There have been lengthy extensions to the regulatory process, NEB member replacements, and suggestions this process needs to start from scratch. None of these actions provide any certainty for investors, the proponent or our economy.
“Under the Liberals, approval now varies from project to project, determined while these reviews are underway, and final decisions based on the Prime Minister’s whim. This means uncertainty for investors and proponents when we can least afford it,” said Stubbs. “It’s time for the Liberals to stop playing politics with Canada’s energy future, stop putting up roadblocks to pipelines and start working to get Canadian energy – which is the most socially and environmentally responsible oil and gas in the world – to diverse global markets.”