Regulators Decline Reconsidering MVP and Atlantic Coast Pipeline Water Permits

A regulatory panel declined a request to consider re-evaluating or revoking water-quality permits for two natural gas pipelines after environmental groups, landowners, and other critics argued the Corps’ review process being overly broad.

The Department of Environmental Quality defended the process, and both pipeline companies say the review has been rigorous.

Initially, the board weighted a motion to consider revoking the permits but voted it down.

The State Water Control Board met Tuesday in Richmond to consider the comments it solicited earlier this year regarding the permits granted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines.

Staff from the DEQ gave an overview of the thousands of comments received in addition to having the board hear from attendees of the hearing which was raucous and contentious at times.

The Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines have gathered many opponents because of their routes and have battled setbacks involving permits.

Radio IQ

TransCanada's Energy East Review Process Encounters Legal Challenge

Proposed route of TransCanada's Energy East pipeline project as of November, 2015. ( TransCanada )

Proposed route of TransCanada's Energy East pipeline project as of November, 2015. (TransCanada)

An environmental group in Canada filed a legal challenge on Tuesday to restart the regulatory review of TransCanada's Energy East pipeline due to what the group claims was a bias start to the process.

Environmental group Transition Initiative Kenora filed the motion to the newly reassigned National Energy Board, whose previous board members were under fire last year and subsequently stepped down after privately meeting with a TransCanada consultant before reviewing Energy East.

Transition Initiative Kenora said the regulatory review process of Energy East, which would carry 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta's oil sands to the east coast of Canada, should start from the beginning and not where it left off when it was first suspended.

Canada's government has not yet said if the review process will begin anew or start where it was suspended.

Environmental groups oppose the pipeline project, saying it threatens water sources and the tourism economy. TransCanada says the pipeline is necessary and of national interest.


Canadian Government to Unveil Panel to Overhaul National Energy Board

The Canadian government will announce as early as Tuesday a panel whose goal is to overhaul the government’s energy regulator, the National Energy Board, as part of the country’s efforts to increase public confidence in Canada’s environmental review process.

The five-member panel is part of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s plan to fulfill the promise he made to concerned environmentalists and aboriginal groups when assuming office in 2015, which was to revamp the National Energy Board and place greater weight on the potential environmental impacts from pipeline projects in the country.

The proposed panel will have until the end of March to suggest changes to the National Energy Board as Trudeau continues to make decisions regarding pipeline projects such as Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline.

The Canadian government has until December 19 to decide on the fate of the Trans Mountain expansion and November 25 to decide the next steps for Northern Gateway pipeline.

Wall Street Journal

TransCanada Pipeline Panel to Quit, Says Canada Regulator

Graphic by V Strategies ( YouTube )

Graphic by V Strategies (YouTube)

Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) announced Friday that the panel considering TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline is quitting in order to preserve the board’s integrity, according to a statement made by the NEB.

Several opponents of the board demanded that two of the three members resign after it was discovered that they had discussed the proposed pipeline with former Quebec Premier Jean Charest, a consultant at the time for TransCanada.

The board says the members had talked to Charest in good faith but understand it could have created worries of lack of objectivity regarding the consideration of the pipeline.

Hearings on the pipeline will now be suspended until the NEB can name another panel, dragging out an already long process for review of the pipeline. The NEB currently has until March 16, 2018 to make a final report on the project.

TransCanada’s Energy East is a roughly 2,850-mile pipeline that would carry 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries in Eastern Canada.