Ottawa to overhaul process for energy project reviews – by Shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – February 5, 2018)

The Liberal government will introduce sweeping legislation this week to overhaul the environmental assessment system for major resource projects as it faces fierce opposition in British Columbia to a pipeline approved under the current rules.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the existing system, in which the National Energy Board reviews pipeline proposals, has failed to provide credible outcomes that are broadly trusted by the people who would be affected.

The government indicated on Friday that it will give notice of legislation on Monday, meaning the bill will be tabled later in the week.

Ministers have signalled the government will make a single agency responsible for assessing not only environmental issues, but socioeconomic and Indigenous concerns over major resource projects. The NEB and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission – which has responsibility for the nuclear industry – will advise the responsible agency, a source said on Sunday.

As part of the government’s effort at reconciliation, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna have vowed to give Indigenous communities a more robust role in decision-making.

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