OTTAWA — The Liberal government raised the heat Wednesday in the growing political battle over pipeline megaprojects, bringing in new hurdles that will add nine months to its review timeline for the Energy East project and four months for the Trans Mountain proposal.
Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna announced several additional steps for projects that are currently undergoing regulatory review – prompting complaints from Conservative MPs that the Liberals are failing to support the depressed oil and gas sector.
The policy changes will affect Kinder Morgan Inc.’s proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline to Vancouver, TransCanada Corp.’s planned Energy East line to New Brunswick, the Pacific NorthWest liquefied natural gas export terminal in Prince Rupert, B.C., as well as crude-by-rail terminals and other projects now being assessed under rules adopted by the former Harper government.
Ottawa extended its deadline for a decision on Kinder Morgan’s $6.8-billion project to December, and will lengthen the timeline for assessing TransCanada’s $15.7-billion Energy East proposal, which is just beginning a formal National Energy Board hearing process. Ministers suggested no other decisions would be delayed.
The ministers insisted the government is not opposed to pipelines or determined to shut down the oil industry to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, as some critics contend.
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