Energy reforms push Trudeau government’s green agenda at expense of oilpatch – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – February 9, 2018)

Reforms to restore public trust will be pointless if capital moves to fund energy projects elsewhere, leaving nothing to fight over in a weaker economy

While claiming to look for balance between the economy and the environment, the federal Liberal government pushed its climate change agenda forward in major environmental and regulatory reforms of big energy projects announced Thursday.

And in case there was any doubt, the proposed changes reinforce that the Liberal energy priority is about transitioning to a clean energy economy, not supporting investment in oil and gas — a big political and economic gamble while the United States is moving in the opposite direction.

One good thing for Canada’s energy sector: Projects that aren’t dead on arrival because they don’t fit into Canada’s climate change commitments can look forward to — maybe — shorter reviews.

“The previous government eroded public trust in environmental and regulatory processes, making it harder for projects to get approved,” Jim Carr, the federal natural resources minister, said in announcing the reforms in Calgary. “We are restoring that trust.”

The reforms, which have to be approved by Parliament, reflect many of the environmental lobby’s priorities, while ignoring industry proposals.Under the package of proposals, the Ottawa-based Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, to be renamed the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, will take the lead on federal reviews of major projects such as pipelines, replacing the Calgary-based National Energy Board.

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