What Bill C-69 could mean for Canada’s pipeline reviews
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the government’s new environmental assessment legislation will make it easier for major pipelines to get built in Canada, as the Liberals face growing pressure to provide answers on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
Bill C-69, which is currently being reviewed by the Senate, aims to overhaul the National Energy Board and establish an Impact Assessment Agency for natural resource projects with a new scope and timelines.
Trudeau told reporters Wednesday that the bill will help future pipeline proposals avoid the legal limbo that is now stalling the Trans Mountain project, which the government bought for $4.5 billion from Kinder Morgan Canada.
“We put forward a revamped environmental assessment process in Bill C-69, that moves forward and strengthens environmental assessments and strengthens partnerships with Indigenous peoples, but also provides greater clarity for proponents and industry so that they know if they go through this process they are much less likely to be slapped down with a court case like [Trans Mountain],” Trudeau said in Edmonton.
Trudeau’s comments come after the Federal Court of Appeal last week overturned the government’s approval allowing the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which seeks to twin an existing pipeline from Edmonton to the B.C. coast, to proceed.
Some critics, however, say Bill C-69 will make pipeline approvals more difficult.
In a BNN Bloomberg interview last month, former TransCanada Corp. CEO Hal Kvisle called Bill C-69 “an absolutely devastating piece of legislation,” warning that pipeline companies would not propose new projects in Canada if the bill comes into force.